2010 MLS Awards Watch: Coach of the Year

2010 MLS Awards Watch: Coach of the Year

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On October 1, 2010
  • Bruce Arena, Frank Yallop, Hans Backe, Jason Kreis, Schellas Hyndman

Schellas Hyndman has a shot at the Coach of the Year award. (Getty Images)

Its that time of the year again. The final month of the season is here so it means we’ll have to dip into the end of year awards around here. I felt like starting off today with the coach of the year away, one that could be the toughest to gage in recent years.

Typically the coach of the year race usually goes down to a coach that has take his team from a worst-to-first kind of situation. A lot of times the guy who leads his team to a successful season gets over looked in that case. That’s what we’ll have here this year as you could make an argument for at least four or five different coaches.

I’ll break down each coach before giving you my thoughts on who I think is leading the race at this point at the end.

Worst-to-First Guys

Hans Backe (New York Red Bulls) – It goes without saying this category is centered around what Backe has done in New York this season. Going from literally one of the worst teams in league history to one of the top contenders this season shows that New York finally got it right with their coaching selection. I think a special nod also needs to go to Eric Solar for helping put together this team but a lot of the credit will still go to Backe at the end of the day.

Its hard to think that this New York team was that bad last year. This year’s version is completely different as Backe is finally getting the most out of some guys like Dane Richards while proving he, Solar and Richie Williams were geniuses in the SuperDraft by getting Tim Ream in the second round and getting a future star in Toni Tchani.

Oh yeah it doesn’t hurt to have three Designated Players on his roster either. But at the end of the day Backe has been the perfect motivator for this club by getting them to step up in games in places they’ve never done well at.

Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas) – On the other end of the spectrum in this category is Hyndman. Its been a long road for him in Dallas over the last couple years to get his team where it is today. He made some unpopular moves at the time to bring in some old SMU guys of his like Ugo Ihemelu or Daniel Hernandez but what he’s finally been able to do is get a roster of guys that play his system and play it to perfection.

Dallas has gone from a so-so defensive team to one of the top defensive teams in the league. Getting Kevin Hartman in goal had something to do with that but it also took Hyndman placing the right mix of guys in the back too. Seeing George John go from just another draft pick for depth to a starter shows Hyndman knew was he was doing all along.

Speaking of the draft too, Hyndman like Backe had one of the better drafts this past season with the likes of Zach Loyd, Eric Alexander and Edson Edward on the team. They all weren’t big name rookies but they’ve all picked up things from the veteran squad and looked well beyond their years.

Frank Yallop (San Jose Earthquakes) – Boy was I ever wrong about Yallop and the Quakes this season. Hell I believe everyone was. No one saw their midseason transformation happening at the start of the season when the Quakes were hammered at home by RSL. We all expected more of the last two years out of these Quakes and Yallop but somehow and some way the Quakes responded to Yallop and started winning.

Yallop may be a hard sell for this award but going from last place in the west to one of the contenders this season shows he’s made some solid moves this year to get his club where they need to be. Not only did he finally get the best out of Bobby Convey but he found a star in Chris Wondolowski this season. Again, who saw that coming?

Successful all season long

Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake) – Kreis and RSL have been near the top of the standings since April. Kreis continues to get more out of lesser known stars than anyone else in this league. Not only has he made the best moves for guys like Alvaro Saborio but he’s been able to get his young rookies like Luis Gil and David Hurst loan deals to get them solid playing time in the lower division here in America.

In all honesty it would be a shame for Kreis to not win this year due to his club’s success in league play and in the CONCACAF Champions League. I think if you ask most fans around the league they feel confident enough in RSL to do well in the CCL knockout rounds next year.

Then there is the home field advantage thing that his club has going for them right now. Even before they moved in to Rio Tinto they were a tough home team but now more than ever its damn near impossible to get three points on Kreis’ club at Rio Tinto.

Bruce Arena (LA Galaxy) – This one may be the hardest sell considering LA hasn’t been nearly as dominate as they were from March-July. Still with four games left the Galaxy have a real shot at winning the regular season crown and a lot has to do with how Arena managed this club this season.

To think they started off so hot with Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan leading the way before the World Cup and then to remain hot once they were in South Africa shows Arena knows how to develop young talent like Tristan Bowen or Michael Stephens. I still find LA a dangerous side as long as they remain healthy.

In other years he would have already wrapped this award up and I think he could get back in the mix if his club goes off and wins four straight before the start of the playoffs. I just think when his club went cold so did his chances for this award.