In Defense of Curt Onalfo

In Defense of Curt Onalfo

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 18, 2009
  • 6 Comments
  • Curt Onalfo, Geoff Reid
Geoff Reid believes it was a bit too soon to let Curt Onalfo go. (Brian Stevens, WVH Photo Correspondent)

Geoff Reid believes it was a bit too soon to let Curt Onalfo go. (Brian Stevens, WVH Photo Correspondent)

Editor’s note: Geoff Reid appears on WVHooligan each week. Today he returns to defend the firing of Curt Onalfo. Feel free to leave him your thoughts below.

To say that I was surprised that Curt Onalfo was fired from the Kansas City Wizards wouldnít necessarily be true. After FC Dallas knocked them for six we canít honestly say this was shocking news. But it did raise a few eyebrows because the Wizards said it was in closed door discussions because they felt the club hasnít progressed since he took over.

One can argue his overall record as manager was 27-29-22 which is very average over two and a half seasons and thatís an easy assumption to make. However, we all forget, he took over a team that was the worst in Major League Soccer after the 2006 season and replacing a US Soccer legend in Bob Gansler. Curt also took the Wizards to the playoffs in both his full seasons in charge and although the club didnít make the MLS Cup, they certainly made the eventual cup winners work extremely hard to get to the final: In 2007, Houston Dynamo beat the Wizards in the semifinals at Robertson Stadium and then the Columbus Crew knocked the Wizards out in 2008 in the home and away aggregate first round.

We must also not forget that in 2007, Curt was a big reason to Eddie Johnsonís strike rate turning around and scoring goals again. Onalfo promised he would get EJ scoring again, and he delivered. To be perfectly honest and blunt, has Johnson even hit the same form since him and Onalfo parted ways when Johnson made his move to Fulham? No he hasnít and it must be classed as a major achievement for a coach to get someone like Eddie Johnson scoring goals on a regular basis because the technical side of the game is not his strong point, while pace always has been his most dangerous weapon.

This seasonís record is a small summary of what his overall record is like being 5-6-7 but it doesnít necessarily explain the whole picture. The amazing thing with MLS which makes it different from every other league in the world is itís such a streaky league because of the salary cap making every team on an even playing field. If the Wizards put together a five, six or even seven game unbeaten run and even put together a winning run they will be right back in this playoff hunt and if that happens, Peter Vermes will get the credit for installing belief in the squad of players. If that doesnít happen, Curt Onalfo will take the blame for it, thatís just the way modern day football works. Look at Newcastle Unitedís relegation from the Premiership last season. Alan Shearer is a hero in the area no matter what happened and in the end he couldnít keep them up in what was his first managerial position at any level. In the eyes of their fans, he canít do any wrong.

I donít believe it was totally fair for Onalfo to go. He loses one match, pretty badly though at that, and loses his job. Compare that to Juan Carlos Osorio in New York who has lost 16 matches this season in league play and more in other competitions and yet he still has a job currently. Something just doesnít add up…

  • Tony Felich

    Onalfo gets Eddie Johnson scoring? That's it? Even if Onalfo should receive credit for a streaky player like Johnson scoring, that's hardly enough to overcome the below average production KC has seen under his watch. Onalfo promised an "attacking" style and has had quite a bit of time to give a hint of what that would look like. I don't think anyone would dare argue the Wizards have any kind of attacking style at all. Further, the second half of this season has been utter digression. The time for Onalfo's dismissal was right. Very frankly, if the Wizards don't show marked improvement the last third of the season, one would wonder why Vermes would not be dismissed also.

  • Tony Felich

    Onalfo gets Eddie Johnson scoring? That’s it? Even if Onalfo should receive credit for a streaky player like Johnson scoring, that’s hardly enough to overcome the below average production KC has seen under his watch.

    Onalfo promised an “attacking” style and has had quite a bit of time to give a hint of what that would look like. I don’t think anyone would dare argue the Wizards have any kind of attacking style at all. Further, the second half of this season has been utter digression.

    The time for Onalfo’s dismissal was right. Very frankly, if the Wizards don’t show marked improvement the last third of the season, one would wonder why Vermes would not be dismissed also.

  • Tristan Heite

    I can't comment on the firing of Onalfo, after all, the Directors of KC got exactly what they hired; an average ex player who had NEVER…I repeat NEVER coached a team, much less a successful team at any level, including youth. Its a miracle he managed to record a 27 wins over two and half seasons! The man is a camp director for God's sake! And please don't comment on his dopey sidekick Kris Kelderman…if he managed to string together two coherent sentences in the locker room, or anywhere else, I'd be surprised!

  • Tristan Heite

    I can’t comment on the firing of Onalfo, after all, the Directors of KC got exactly what they hired; an average ex player who had NEVER…I repeat NEVER coached a team, much less a successful team at any level, including youth. Its a miracle he managed to record a 27 wins over two and half seasons! The man is a camp director for God’s sake! And please don’t comment on his dopey sidekick Kris Kelderman…if he managed to string together two coherent sentences in the locker room, or anywhere else, I’d be surprised!

  • roberto baggio

    I have to say that Curt Onalfo did ok but what ticked me off the last few seasons was that he was digging up some south American players all the time who were either past due or were not good enough…how about the europeans or canadians im glad hes gone bring back preki!!!!

  • roberto baggio

    I have to say that Curt Onalfo did ok but what ticked me off the last few seasons was that he was digging up some south American players all the time who were either past due or were not good enough…how about the europeans or canadians im glad hes gone bring back preki!!!!