Plenty of MLS teams have gone from out of the playoffs one year to in them the next. It's part of what makes the league so competitive, and so maddening. But even in the context of MLS, the turnaround the Portland Timbers experienced under head coach Caleb Porter was pretty dramatic.
Not only did the Timbers go from nine points out of the playoffs to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, but they did it in style. The Timbers' 24-point improvement was among the biggest one-year turnarounds in MLS history. Even more impressively, they were 43 goals better in 2013 than they were in 2012, which was the biggest reversal in MLS history.
No one person deserves more credit for all of this than Porter, which is why SB Nation's soccer bloggers made him the overwhelming pick for Coach of the Year. Porter garnered 18 votes, which were 11 more than second-place Oscar Pareja, who guided the Colorado Rapids to a 14-point improvement. Jason Kreis (three) and Mike Petke (two) were the only other coaches to receive more than one vote.
While each of those coaches had solid resumes -- and maybe even could have won it in other years -- they simply paled in comparison to the job Porter did in Portland. Porter's arrival heralded a new beginning, and he quickly went about bringing in the pieces he needed in order to make his vision become a reality. Among the key moves were acquiring Will Johnson and Ryan Johnson in a pair of trades and signing Diego Valeri on loan. But he also figured out a way to unlock Darlington Nagbe's boundless potential and figured out an effective way to effectively use players like Rodney Wallace.
He did this all while also earning his chops as a professional coach, which was the biggest knock against him at the start of the year. Excluding the inaugural 1996 season, Porter's 57 points were the most for any first-year MLS coach and his .632 winning percentage was the fourth best.
About the voting: Representatives from each of SB Nation's 19 MLS blogs and other assorted SBN soccer bloggers were invited to cast one vote for each of our six categories. Only those who received more than one vote were tabulated.