When the Vancouver Whitecaps began their extended period of mediocrity in Major League Soccer this season, the clock already had started ticking on Head Coach Martin Rennie. Not from Front Office of course, no one could know that except the guys and gals in the suits making those decisions. No, the calls for Rennie's head came from media and fans, with the latter being the most vocal.
Now, as the Whitecaps march towards the end of the season and try desperately to claw their way into post-season contention, one has to wonder if the sword of Damocles is still hanging over Rennie. After all, this is a different club than a few months ago. Thanks largely to Camilo (and more recently, Kekuta Manneh,) the Whitecaps find themselves within shouting distance of a playoff spot, and can now add a Cascadia Cup victory to their list of accomplishments in this league. Yes, in what has to be considered nothing more than a consolation prize, the Whitecaps have nonetheless found success this season, no matter how limited it may be.
Now the question needs to be asked: Does Rennie get another shot based on his finish to this season? Let's just say the Whitecaps go on a bit of a run here and win the final two matches against Colorado outright. Regardless of whether they make the playoffs, that would be a 4-2-3 run to end the season, which is actually pretty good. Toss in a Cascadia Cup win, and it looks a whole lot better, too.
Of course, that's also turning a blind eye to the majority of the season, when the 'Caps had some truly ugly matches and stretches of the schedule. Could Rennie get a pass for this? If Bob Lenarduzzi and Rachel Lewis believe that it truly wasn't Rennie's fault, and instead lay blame to injuries, then he's got a shot. His age is another factor that he has going for him, considering he is still younger than normal. The 'Caps took on a young coach for a young MLS franchise because they wanted the coach to grow with the team. Pulling the plug on Rennie after just two seasons doesn't really seem to fit that mold.
That being said, this was a club that was supposed to contend for the playoffs. They brought in names like Nigel Reo-Coker and Daigo Kobayashi to build off their post-season appearance last year, to make that next step. Now they find themselves in a dogfight they shouldn't have been in.
For my money, Martin Rennie does deserve another go around as the Whitecaps bench boss. There are too many good things happening on this club right now to completely change the culture; you have the emergence of young guns Kekuta Manneh, Johnny Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell who will only get better with more playing time, Camilo's jump to elite MLS status, the strong return of Jay DeMerit, the spectacular play of Nigel Reo-Coker; the list goes on. Give him another shot, and if it doesn't work, you can begin the search for a new supreme leader.
Has he done enough? Let me know.