Good Monday morning Caps fans, hoping you all are getting ready for a productive and positive week ahead. Here in the U.S. we are celebrating the holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy. Here’s to all of us spending some time today reflecting on our place in the world and how we can make it a better, more just place.
It has been a busy morning of MLS news already, with two coaching hires finalized by DC United and Inter Miami. Combined with Toronto FC tapping Chris Armas as their new manager in recent days, the three clubs all took very distinct routes to arrive at new leadership.
DC United tapped Beerschot skipper Hernán Losada, who was a bit of a journeyman midfielder prior to coaching in Belgium. By all accounts, the 38-year-old did a job with Beerschot and will likely have more resources available to him in DC (how much more is always an open question with that team, however). He is, like many Argentines, a devotee of Marcelo Bielsa, which should make things a bit more interesting after a fairly drab year for DC.
Inter Miami, meanwhile, went for the spectacular, confirming their long-rumored interest in Phil Neville to make the England Women’s National Team coach their skipper after Diego Alonso was disposed of following a disappointing inaugural season.
Setting aside the baffling move of casting aside Alonso when it didn’t seem like it was his fault that things never got out of neutral, the Neville hire seems to be a pretty awful one. The extent to which the Lionesses succeeded seemed to be more in spite of Neville’s coaching, rather than because of it.
The Guardian had an article a few weeks ago basically wondering aloud how Neville keeps failing up and one has to wonder if any connections with a former English mate, Beckham, played a role in Inter Miami passing on trying to find a higher upside manager, potentially from Latin America.
The Armas hire meanwhile is a familiar one to MLS fans and is the kind of hire you see in the EPL and leagues around the world: the veteran manager who keeps finding jobs even when they indisputably failed at their last one, just because they understand the lay of the land in a given league.
These paths are the three main ones available to clubs right now. There is also the one which LA Galaxy chose — find an MLS veteran who actually has a proven track record of success. This would seemingly be the top choice and one only has to look as far as Columbus Crew to see why. If you can lure a top MLS coach to your team, that is a big advantage given the league’s Byzantine nature.
But absent that, why recycle the same guys over and over again? The only times I can remember these hires working out are Adrian Heath in Minnesota and Oscar Pareja in Orlando. Generally, however, hiring Jason Kreis for the billionth time is not going to be what gets your franchise over the hump. It might work out alright for Toronto because, let’s face it, anyone with a decent grounding in Football Manager could probably get them to the playoffs. But for a team like, say, the Whitecaps, it is a recipe for disaster.
Doing what DC United did (or NYCFC with Viera)? Well, that is a better idea. MLS has made its bones by finding up and coming young players in those second-tier leagues who are looking to make a step up. Why not embrace that same tact with coaches?
Sure, different teams have different personalities. Miami may want the same kind of splashy hire that has defined its Designated Player search. But for the overwhelming number of teams who are not as ambitious as Inter, thinking outside the box is the way to go. Yeah, it could end in failure. But so could hiring a guy like Chris Armas.
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