MLS Coaching Hot Seats

MLS Coaching Hot Seats

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On June 25, 2007
  • 2 Comments

I guess from time to time it is good to look at the coaches in the MLS and somewhat rate how each of them are doing. I will mainly just stick to the hot seats here today as most coaches are doing enough or more than enough to save their butts from being sacked like John Ellinger and Dave Sarachan.

I will start with the hottest and work my way down to the “coolest” of seats.

Hottest of the ‘hot seats’:
1. Frank Yallop, LA Galaxy – This one is probably the easiest to say. Ten games in and the Galaxy have underperformed like no other team has. With all the moves the Galaxy has made in the offseason and during the season there is no reason why this Galaxy team shouldn’t be at least a .500% team sitting with around 15 points or so at this point. They haven’t made the Home Depot Center their normal fortress like they normally do. But at times I can’t say Yallop is fully to blame, he really and probably isn’t on the same page as his front office (GM Alexi Lalas) and that is never a good thing.

Sure the injuries and the call-ups have hurt this club, as well as the wacky schedule but at the end of the day the blame does come down on the coach and in this case it comes down very hard.

Many, including myself, wonder whether or not Yallop will last the summer months. I believe if this club continues its pace, even with David Beckham and Landon Donovan in the lineup, then yes, you can bet on Yallop getting sacked by August. Only a few more games until the circus and international friendly competitions kick up. The Galaxy have to have a good showing in the World Series of Football as well as a respectable showing in SuperLiga to save Yallop.

2. Fernando Clavijo, Colorado Rapids – To say Ferando’s seat isn’t getting hot should be an understatement at this point. The Rapids have been horrible as of late. Winless so far in the month of June and are really starting to look more and more like the Chicago Fire than the Houston Dynamo. Its not like the Rapids got off to a really hot start either, they were just merely lucky the rest of the west was cold from the start.

For one Clavijo said when he signed on with the Rapids almost three seasons ago that it would take three season to build a winner and a championship contender. Now I will admit, I thought at the beginning of the season they had a fairly good shot to do just that, contend and possibly win the west and even put up at good shot at winning the MLS Cup.

But more and more the doesn’t seem to be the case for the Rapids. The defense is too old and unreliable, the offense is almost nonexistent at times and the midfield isn’t able to control enough games to put points on the board.

Mostly, the Rapids play a particular brand of soccer that is boring and flat out ugly to watch. The games they had won were games where they lulled their opponents into sleep and scored in and around the 70th minute of the game. Their actual results haven’t been anything worth talking about either. Their biggest win this season was a 2-0 win over lowly Real Salt Lake. Sure they beat New York at New York but did anyone watch that game? Not really…it was boring to say the least.

I don’t see the Rapids entering July on any sort of winning either. They get to travel to DC this week, a place that they never play too well at. Thankfully for the Rapids they begin July in Chicago, that should be a win but at this point its not almost a guaranteed victory.  And before the All-Star break they get Columbus and New York at home. So over the next four games I honestly only expect Clavijo’s seat to get even hotter. I really only see no more than 6 points in their next four matches. Will Clavijo make it through the summer? More than likely but if this club continues this way you can expect a new gaffer in Colorado next season.

3. Sigi Schmid, Columbus Crew – Here is a seat that has really cooled off in the past week. Two big wins over LA and Kansas City.  Both wins helped move the Crew out of the east cellar and quickly into the playoff picture. Big time news there if you are a Crew fan.

However the Crew still have a long way to go but at least things are looking up. A tough task with New York coming into town this weekend should really let us know more about Sigi and the Crew. I think for now his job is as safe as it was the day he took over. Fans actually do like Sigi in Columbus from what I’m told. That is a good thing because even though they underachieved the fans didn’t turn on Sigi like they used to in recent years with past coaches.

I think the Crew need to make a splash in the coming weeks as far as signing a player or two. The defense needs to be sured up and I think they are a striker away from really making an impact in the east.

The slightly warm but not too hot, hot seats…

4. Dennis Hamlet, Chicago Fire – In a way this is really not a hot seat at all because Hamlet is the interim coach of the Fire and word is that they are looking to hire Revs’ assistant Paul Mariner as the new coach. But in all honest I am rooting for Hamlet to be a success in Chicago. I really hope to see him as the first full-time black head coach in the league. I think that is something a lot of people can root for and be happy with.

But for now it is Hamlet’s job to keep this club happy, which will be hard because some players were upset to see Sarachan get the boot in the middle of the season. But I am sure there are some that were more than happy to see him leave.

I think in weeks time we will know more about this club as far as if it was Sarachan’s fault or if it was more of the GM’s fault in John Guppy. Most Fire fans will quickly tell you it was Guppy or just as much as Guppy’s fault as it was Sarachan’s.

5. Tom Soehn, DC United – Some will really question this decision by me but he isn’t fully on the hot seat as he was to begin the season. I think the biggest reason why Soehn is a little more under watch than most would like to believe is because of how poorly his club plays away from home. I see this as the biggest challenge that the United have of getting to the MLS Cup finals.

Sure they are solid at home but they have a lot of road games left on the schedule this season, not to mention SuperLiga in the middle of the season. From July though August the United have nine games and six of them are on the road.

I don’t doubt that the United will make the playoffs but the road games will let us know if the United are a top two in the east or a wild card club. So far it is making them look like no more than a wild card club that just gets in.

6. Curt Onalfo, Kansas City Wizards – This is more of a watch or notice here than anything. I don’t see Onalfo getting sacked or anything this season because he is built his club into a winner for the most part. But in recent weeks his club has look less than stellar. Mostly in the past week with two straight losses in games that they really actually deserved to lose.

I think really Onalfo has too get his club back in order once Johnson and Conrad leave for Copa America. The offense will continue to struggle I think without Johnson and the defense will start to show some wear and tear without Conrad leading the troops.

Let’s face it, as good as a start that the Wizards had a 1-2-1 June wasn’t too pretty. Sure beating New York and then finding a weird way to draw them in consecutive weeks was good but last week was not. July should get better though as they have plenty of home games to even up the table and move back up it. The Wizards are a decent home team (3-2-0 so far), some think they are a little better than their record shows at home.

I’ve been unsold and then sold and then unsold on this club all season. They find ways to beat the better clubs but have trouble against clubs that aren’t nearly up to par with them or in all reality are slightly better than they are.

I honestly don’t see the Wizards as a top seed in the east anymore, but then again I never really did. Onalfo will lead this club into the playoffs as a wildcard but they better be careful in the process.

Seats that aren’t even slight warm…in-fact they ‘aren’t warm at all seats’:

7. Dominic Kinnear, Houston Dynamo- Slightly on the border of being a little warm but still on the outside of that for the most part because of recent play of his club. It will be real interesting to see just how good this club gets with their bigger stars coming back to a club that has played much better without them. I think this club will be fine as well as Kinnear’s job.

8. Mo Johnston, Toronto FC – Hard to put an expansion coach in the hot seat even when they did start out poorly. But Johnston has built a very respectable club in the recent weeks.

9. Steve Morrow, FC Dallas – First year coach doing just enough I think. A lot of people would think his seat would be a little warmer since his club has so many losses so far. I think Morrow has said and done the right things so far even though his club is pretty average so far. You can’t put too much blame on him either, the schedule has been out of whack since day one. Half way done with their season already and 25 points to show for it, as a Hoops fan I will take it because I think if they do the exact in the next 15 games, they will be sitting in the playoffs once again.

10. Jason Kries, Real Salt Lake – I couldn’t put him in or around the hot seats just yet. His club did just score their first win of the season against a pretty good DC club. I think they are a move away from making some noise in the west. I still do believe that. Get a good central midfielder Jason and your season may get saved a little bit more.

11. Preki, Chivas USA – Some could say his job isn’t as safe as it sound but it is. Preki has done a fine job so far, even with all the Guevara distractions from earlier in the season. They, like the Galaxy, have to find a way to win on the road though.

12. Steve Nicol, New England Revolution – I think Nicol has pushed the right buttons but if his top assistant leave for the Chicago job, how will he fare? Time will tell won’t it? But I think even without Twellman in the lineup the Revs will be fine.

13. Bruce Arena, New York Red Bulls – Probably the safest of jobs in the league is Bruce Arena. The club has played very well so far and Bruce as made the Red Bulls an interesting club to watch.

What are your thoughts about the coaching hot seats these days? Feel free to chime in on this.