2011 MLS Previews: Coaching Hot Seat

2011 MLS Previews: Coaching Hot Seat

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 11, 2011
  • 2011 MLS Season, 2011 MLS Season Preview, Coaching Hot Seat

With the new season upon us here, it is always a good time to take a quick glance at which team’s coaches could be on the hot seat last year. Over the last few years I’ve monitored the Coaching Hot Seat fairly close and for the most part I’d like to say I’ve done pretty good at forecasting when coaches are close to getting canned (I’ve really only been off on one or two).

You may be thinking that going into this season that there really aren’t any big candidates for the coaching hot seat. Well, think again. I will say this year is different in that we have two new clubs and a couple new managers taking over other clubs. But there are a couple coaches out there that could be coaching for their jobs this season.

Think I’m way off on one of these below or missing a coach that should be on here, let me know below.

1. Carlos de los Cobos (Chicago Fire) – I’ll be rather honest about the Fire here, I was a bit shocked they brought him back after a pretty dismal 2010. The amount of talent that has left this club since he took over is pretty big (then again if you go even further back the amount of shocking). I believe if the Fire aren’t doing well by the middle of the season here in an Eastern Conference that is widely viewed to be pretty open for at least two of the three automatic playoff spots, then you could see a pink slip given in the Windy City. Fire fans deserve a winner there and they certainly will not put up with another playoff-less season.

2. Steve Nicol (New England Revolution) – I do feel a bit odd putting his name down here but let’s face the facts a bit here, the Revs have been passed up over the last two or three seasons by smarter clubs. Nicol built a solid blueprint for success in MLS a few years ago but more and more clubs are taking that model and are improving it in ways Nicol and his staff can’t compete with. Yes injuries have played a huge part but then again so have some roster moves. While I think some big pressure will be on Nicol to get his club back into the playoffs this year, I do still think that a pink slip could be another year away in New England. Gotta remember the Krafts (New England’s owners) are all about keeping things as stable as possible. I can’t imagine they’ll want to deal with a coaching change in midseason either but they may have to if the club continues to regress the way its been doing.

3. Robert Warzycha (Columbus Crew) – Hard to imagine any club blow up a roster the way he did and not be under some heat. If it works out he’ll be touted as a genius but if the Crew slide into the no playoff zone this season then he’ll be a failure that forced one of the best players MLS has ever seen out the door in Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

Others possibly with heat:

Now this group is more about the coaches that have pressure on them no matter what due to where they coach. And mostly it is due to who they coach and their club’s history of firing coaches.

1. Hans Backe (New York Red Bulls) – I have to imagine there is a lot of pressure on Backe to win a lot this year not matter what. I don’t see the pink slip coming out for him unless for some reason the Red Bulls mail it in somehow this season and fail to reach the playoffs, which shouldn’t happen. Still a coach in New York is one to always keep an eye out for given the pressure to win there.

2. Aron Winter (Toronto FC) – I don’t even know where to begin with this one, should upper management decide out of the blue that they don’t want to wait it out for Winter’s system to take over  for the long term, then he could be outed. My gut tells me the fans will complain more than the management will though about the Reds this season.

3. Robin Fraser (Chivas USA) – The AmeriGoats are nearly as bad as New York and Toronto at canning a coach without given them their just due. I don’t see it happening with Fraser after one season though. Things have to go really bad in a hurry for Chivas USA to think of getting rid of Fraser.

Update: I added Warzycha to the list above…I had him on an initial list I was putting together and then completely left him off. Thanks to a couple Crew fans for point it out.

  • 78bender

    What about Sigi? There’s a lot of pressure in Seattle lately.

  • Kaiser

    Are you serious? If Seattle wants to get rid of him they are insane! He has built a solid team and led them to the postseason in both of thier seasons. Sigi also led them to two US Open Cup titles. Oh, and I believe he is the winningest coach in the history of the league. Not sure why they would want to get rid of him.