VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Vancouver Whitecaps fired coach Martin Rennie on Tuesday after a second straight up-and-down season that saw the Whitecaps start strong before struggling late in the season.
Vancouver recovered in time to squeak into the 2012 playoffs — a first for a Canadian MLS team — but a 1-7-2 slide midway through the 2013 season was too much to overcome and cost Rennie his job.
"Ultimately, the rationale behind the decision is the inconsistency," Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said. "If we look back over the two years, we had two relatively good starts, and in each of those seasons we seemed to tail off.
"In the first year we were able to survive that and make the playoffs, but in the second year we weren't able to do so."
Lenarduzzi said the Whitecaps have a "football committee" that includes himself, two of the team's owners and two other executives, which determines the fate of the team's coach, among other duties.
Rennie, who was 24-25-19 in two seasons with Vancouver, watched the Whitecaps' 2013 playoff hopes come to end when they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Colorado Rapids in Commerce City, Colo., on Oct. 19.
Vancouver (13-12-9) rebounded to beat Colorado 3-0 in Sunday's regular-season finale, with Brazilian forward Camilo Sanvezzo getting a hat trick to win the MLS Golden Boot as the league's top scorer.
But it wasn't enough to save Rennie, who thanked the club and its fans in a statement released on the Whitecaps' website.
"In life we have different roles at different times, and although there is great satisfaction in taking a project to fruition there is also a strong sense of accomplishment from turning a team around and giving it a solid foundation for future success," the statement read.
"It has been an absolute privilege to have played the role that I have for the Whitecaps and I look forward to watching the organization move forward from strength to strength."
Lenarduzzi said the search for a new coach will begin immediately, and whoever gets the job will be the Whitecaps' fourth in four MLS seasons.
The 38-year-old Rennie also failed to win the Canadian championship in his two years at the Whitecaps' helm, which would have qualified the club for the CONCACAF Champions League.
"There's a fine line between success and, what would be deemed to be failure, and we just need to give ourselves the best chance possible to be on the right side of that," Lenarduzzi said. "Over the last two years we felt that that's perhaps the biggest problem we've had.
"Making the playoffs, winning the (Canadian championship) are benchmarks for us. We haven't been able to achieve that."
The Whitecaps did win this year's Cascadia Cup — their only title since joining MLS — which is a trophy awarded to the top team in head-to-head competition with the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers.
Vancouver finished with more wins and points this season than it did in 2012 and had just one fewer victory than Portland, which finished as the No. 1 playoff seed in the Western Conference.
Vancouver, which wound up seventh, also tied for fourth in MLS with 53 goals scored.