In the future I will have more extensive game recaps. Right now I'm so frustrated with the game and the outcome of other games in the MLS this weekend, this will have to suffice: Conde got two yellows in the first half, RSL scored on a PK, Johnson looked good, the offense couldn't score, what else is new? If you are a Fire fan and didn't see the game, trust me, you don't want to learn much more.
The playoffs have never looked darker and even optimistic me is ready to throw in the towel. I'm not shocked that we lost to RSL as much as I am dismayed by Seattle picking up a full three points against Columbus. Many fans are suggesting that we fire Carlos de los Cobos. The firing of Preki this week seems to have only emboldened CDLC's critics or at least added numbers to the club. I suggest that everyone take a deep breath, take a few steps back and really look at the success and lack of success for the coaches of the table toppers in MLS. There's more after the jump...
Thank you to Big Soccer for providing a single table display:
|Los Angeles Galaxy||25||15||5||5||50|
|Real Salt Lake||25||13||8||4||47|
|New York RB||25||12||5||8||41|
|San Jose Earthquakes||23||10||6||7||36|
|Kansas City Wizards||22||7||6||9||27|
|New England Revolution||24||7||3||14||24|
The teams at the top of the table are Los Angeles, Real Salt Lake, Columbus, and Dallas. The coaches of these teams are Bruce Arena, Jason Kreis, Robert Warzycha, and Schellas Hyndman respectively.
Bruce Arena was hired in 2008 to lead the LA Galaxy. He promptly lead the team to dead last in MLS. They led the league in goals scored... but also in goals against. The cries for him to shore up the back line were deafening. "If only we could get the defense and goaltending together, this would be a top flight team". They signed Donovan Ricketts and drafted Omar Gonzalez. Those two combined to lead the team's defense and in 2009 LA made it to the MLS Cup Final. In 2010, they continue to dominate and are MLS top of the pack.
Jason Kreis retired as a player in mid-season of 2007. He was immediately named coach of Real Salt Lake and the team finished the 2007 season second to dead last. In 2008, Kreis' team surprised and etched out a semi-final appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs as a 7 seed. In 2009, Real Salt Lake barely made it into the playoffs again but then they went on to win the whole thing. The core of the team has stayed together and Real Salt Lake just set the record for the longest home unbeaten streak in MLS history.
Robert Warzycha's history is a little different. He took over the helm for Columbus in 2009 when Seattle
blatantly committed tampering was involved in some questionable activity to get Sigi Schmid to move from Columbus to coach the Sounders for their inaugural season. Warzycha had been an assistant at Columbus since 2003 and he has basically continued the success that Schmid put into place. It was Schmid who took over the team in 2006 and lead it to a - wait for it - a dead last in the MLS finish. In 2007, the Crew still failed to make the playoffs but this time only by 3 points. We probably want to forget what happened in 2008, but yes, Sigi Schmid helped Columbus finally win a MLS Cup.
Last we have Schellas Hyndman of FC Dallas. He took over the Hoops in 2008 and no they didn't finish last or even second to last but they did miss the playoffs and were 3 points from being bottom of the table. In 2009, Hyndman's team played so-so soccer before going on a dramatic 5 wins in 6 games to put them in great position to make the playoffs. In the last game of the season with a win almost certainly clinching a playoff berth, FC Dallas fell to Seattle 2-1. In 2010, FC Dallas has surprised people by being just a good solid team. Hyndman has his strategies, the core of FC Dallas has stayed together and they are finding success. If anything the success of the other coaches on this list suggest that 2010 might finally be the year FC Dallas makes it to the MLS Cup Final.
I hate to say we should ever strive to emulate FC Dallas but I would love to see us play these next games with a focus on getting together as a team. I want to see victories out of teamwork, not out of desperation. There have been too many rotating parts, too many injuries, simply too much change to find success. Those who want to fire Carlos de los Cobos would send us down the same path next year as a new coach would bring in a player or two of his own. Undoubtedly the coach would try players in new roles just to see how they work even if it means temporary failure.
Chicago Fire fans aren't used to temporary failure but maybe we should come to grips with falling down can sometimes be the only way to become taller. It certainly worked for the other coaches on this list. If you have a better example of what you think Carlos de los Cobos is, let's hear it. I think we should stick with him for 2011, possibly even further.