So, let me get this straight: Gary Smith was actually named MLSSoccer.com's Coach of the Week not only in spite of abandoning the Colorado Rapids while they traveled to a CONCACAF Champions League game, but partly because of it? Does that make any sense at all?
Well, if you are the folks at the league's website, apparently it does because that's exactly what happened this week. Here's what they actually said:
Manager: Gary Smith (Colorado Rapids) — After coming under fire for failing to travel with his club to El Salvador for a CONCACAF Champions League match, Smith proved that the midweek CCL victory really did boost his starting XI as they registered a tidy 1-0 league win over FC Dallas. The defending champs played with more energy, confidence and purpose than they had in recent months.
I don't entirely know what to say. On some level, I guess I could see the argument that we were overly harsh on Smith. Clearly, the decision to stay home with his starters while sending his reserves to a must-win CCL match did not blow up in his face. But is this something we should be applauding? Should we really be encouraging future coaches to do something like this?
Let's also consider what Smith's Rapids managed to do this week in MLS play. It wasn't like they went on some arduous road trip and beat one of the league's hottest teams. They beat a quickly fading FC Dallas team 1-0 at home. That's the same FC Dallas that has one just one MLS match in the past two months and was riding a three-match losing streak.
At the end of the day, Coach of the Week is not exactly the most meaningful reward. It just seems like we're practically encouraging coaches to ignore other Cup competitions when we should be doing just the opposite.