I’m not usually a fan of alliteration, but that’s a lot of Cs up top.
Apologies (not really) if you were hoping for a recap of Sunday’s regular season finale. I got absolutely nothing out of it.
So let’s talk about more exciting things!
We saw some more news about the head coach search trickle through over the weekend via several outlets including the ever vigilant Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch. Anthony Precourt had some things to say, most of which revolved around a desire to pursue Bob Bradley. He also spoke about finding the “right man” for the job which includes someone who will (obviously) represent the team well in the community. That part in particular struck me, but more on that later. Precourt also mentioned that they would spend the money to buyout the right coach. Again, more on this in a moment.
Let’s break down the names that are out there at this time. I’ve gone over some of these in the past, but it’s worth revisiting them now that we have some new updates. For a point of reference, here’s the two articles I’m referencing…
MLS Soccer: http://www.thecrew.com/news/2013/10/precourt-confirms-coaching-interest-bob-bradley-other-high-profile-candidates
Soccer America: http://www.socceramerica.com/article/54475/columbus-is-racking-up-coaching-candidates.html
Resume: Former US International who was just dismissed by Swedish club Hammarby in July.
Berhalter was a great player for the US and LA Galaxy later on in his career, but getting dismissed by Hammarby doesn’t do much for me. Next!
Resume: MLS veteran who coached Montreal Impact during their inaugural season and was fired to make room for Marco Schallibaum. He was also reportedly a finalist for the Chicago Fire job back in 2010.
Marsch wasn’t exactly awful in his one year at Montreal. There were signs of promise at the end of the season, but not enough to convince Joey Saputo to keep Marsch. There’s a lot of talk that Marsch would be a good fit for Columbus, but he doesn’t exactly get me revved up for the future; not like some of the other candidates I’m about to go over.
Resume: 2 MLS Coach of the Year awards (2001, 2012), 2 MLS Cup titles as a coach (2001, 2003), 8-9-3 as head coach of Canada from 2004-06
You won’t find a coach on this list with more MLS pedigree, that’s for sure. That might seem like an impressive resume, but here’s how his record breaks down chronologically
San Jose 2001-04: 64-45-32
Los Angeles 2006-07: 24-25-13
San Jose 2007-2013: 62-62-51
Notice how his record tails off as the rest of the league grows up and learns how to play. Yallop is the classic example of a bad coach being recycled around the same league over and over. Not only that, but Chris Wondolowski’s 2012 season is the only time a Frank Yallop team has ever been recognized for its offense. His goal differential in LA was +6 (89 scored, 83 allowed) and during his second stint with San Jose, which lasted SIX years, was a whopping +1 (233 scored, 232 allowed).
He may have pedigree (never mind that it came in the Dark Ages of MLS), but his teams will put you to sleep. Next!
Resume: 1 MLS Cup title as a coach (1998), 2 US Open Cup titles as a coach (1998, 2000), took over the US Men’s National Team in December of 2006 and lost to Ghana in the quarterfinals at the 2010 World Cup
This is the name that has everyone talking. Bradley is still the head coach of Egypt but he’s unlikely to return barring a miraculous comeback in the second leg of their World Cup qualifying playoff with (who else) Ghana.
Look, I get it: Everyone loves the man. His time at Egypt has revealed a lot about his character. But that doesn’t guarantee he’ll make a great coach for the Columbus Crew. Yes, he had success with the Chicago Fire in their first couple seasons, but that was no ordinary expansion team in 1998. That was a stacked team that won with Bob Bradley, not because of him. And while we’re on the subject, we last saw Bradley in MLS back in 2006; two years before the Crew won the double. That’s an eternity in this league. And just as with Yallop, Bradley’s teams don’t exactly keep you glued to your TV screen. Next!
Resume: Former Crew and USMNT goalkeeper who’s still currently employed by Tottenham Hotspur
I’ve talked about Friedel before. I’m not a huge fan of players jumping right into a head coaching upon retirement. Yes, he’s has his coaching license from UEFA instead of US Soccer and he does own his own academy in Cleveland, but he’s too much of a gamble with no actual coaching experience.
Resume: MLS and USMNT veteran who coached the US U-20 at the World Cup this past summer
Now THIS caught my attention. This came out of nowhere, but if it’s true that he has interview it has the potential to be a major coup. Ramos’s US U-20 may have crashed out of the group stage at the World Cup, but they drew the Group of Death with Spain, France, and Ghana. A lot of coaches would see that group and play with 11 men behind the ball hoping to poach one off the counter (a la Mr. Bradley).
Not Tab Ramos.
He played an aggressive 4-3-3 and had his team go toe-to-toe with each of these international giants. His eye for young talent would be huge for the Crew going forward. Wil Trapp started all three of those World Cup games, so Ramos is familiar with his ability. If Anthony Precourt won’t splash the cash for designated players, then the next best thing is to get real young, real quick. Ramos is the perfect candidate for just such a strategy.
There’s only one candidate I like better than Ramos at this point and I’m guessing you already know who it is…
Guillermo Barros Schelotto
Resume: Former MLS Regular Season and MLS Cup MVP, all-around Columbus Crew legend
The more I read what Precourt said about what he’s looking for in a coach, the more I think that Schelotto is the only man for this job going forward. Yes, I’m wary of former players quickly turned coach, but Argentina’s first division is one massive pressure cooker that regularly spits out world class talent. In his first ever coaching gig, Schelotto has taken Lanus as high as fourth place. Precourt says he wants a guy who will represent the team well off the field and Schelotto has been quite clear about his love for the city of Columbus and his desire to return. Columbus is coming off one of its best seasons ever in terms of attendance. Imagine how much closer we’ll get to Goal 10K if Precourt comes out right before Thanksgiving and announces that the most successful player in the team’s history is taking over as head coach!
So it really boils down to what Precourt values the most. Ramos may be able to build a better team, but GBS can coach up the current team and provide an emotional lift to the entire fan base like no other candidate out there.
As long as it’s one of those two, I’ll be thrilled going into this monumental off-season.