- Joined: Nov 28, 2016
- Last Login: Dec 1, 2021, 1:24pm EST
- Posts: 1
- Comments: 47
Share this profile
Comment 2 replies, 2 recs
I suppose Marsch isn't a good example
But I’m ready to call Fraser a great hire— he won the West with effectively no DPs in a way that seems very replicable. And I think Jim Curtin is currently the best head coach in MLS. He’s gotten results on a small budget, built a tactical identity, and developed players. He developed, then sold, 2 Best XI players and is now in the conference final. I don’t want Porter for KC, either. Keep him far away.
But my larger point is if Pat Noonan or Nico Estevez or Ezra Hendrickson turns out to be a great hire this hiring cycle, I don’t think anyone would be surprised. They have the resume of most past successful MLS coaches. I don’t think any of these 3 would turn down Sporting KC for Dallas, Chicago, RSL, or Cincinnati. Sporting should be able to get the best available of these guys (top assistants) whenever the job opens and not have to worry about poaching a current head coach like Bob Bradley. In addition, the coaching pool in the country is going to keep improving as more players retire and move into coaching, lower divisions expand, etc. Guys like Paulo and Benny are just a few examples. There’s going to be capable, qualified candidates that can use Sporting’s resources to get results.
Comment 1 reply, 1 rec
I think this underestimates the attraction of the SKC job
If I was an agent advising a hot coaching prospect on where to go next, I’d point to several positives to the SKC job:
- ownership that is willing to spend on the squad. Not Atlanta or LAFC money, but a good level.
- top notch infrastructure. This includes facilities, the academy and academy affiliates, the USL team, backroom staff, etc. Many MLS clubs don’t have analysts or the scouting network SKC does. Some don’t even have an actual academy!
- the power of the head coach role, which includes final say in personnel decisions (as of now).
- obvious willingness to stick with the head coach through bad seasons and playoff failures. The expectations from ownership are very achievable.
- a (seemingly) non-toxic and non-meddling ownership group. This is not Montreal, RSL, Miami, Chivas USA, etc.
- a market and fanbase that cares.
- minimal threat of relocation.
So this isn’t a big market or a massive spending team, but the stability, infrastructure, and ownership group makes it one of the best jobs in MLS. I’d credit these factors as much as PV’s characteristics as a coach in explaining SKC’s consistency. PV helped build out the infrastructure and made the job stable of course, but those factors won’t go away when PV eventually leaves.
I also think the "big name" idea mentioned in the last point misses that a lot of those big names weren’t big before their current job. Brian Schmetzer was an assistant, as was Greg Vanney. Bob Bradley was a college coach and MLS assistant when he got his MLS start. Jesse Marsch was fired from Montreal before taking the RBNY job. Jim Curtin was an academy coach. Robin Fraser was an assistant and fired Chivas USA coach. Gregg Berhalter was a failed Swedish League coach. SKC might not be able to get any of these coaches now, but there’s other smart soccer minds around MLS that they can hire. A good coach can get results with this team, and with the infrastructure and patience from ownership can continue to grow as a coach (as all of these guys have had to). PV has not developed past a certain point, as we’ve seen year after year. But that doesn’t mean there’s no other coach that can turn Sporting into a trophy winner. SKC is a good job. Vermes isn’t the only guy who can win here.
Comment 2 recs
What has been will be again. There is nothing new under the sun.
Same result, different year, as several have mentioned.
- One of the league’s best teams in the regular season faded down the stretch, due to a lack of squad rotation.
- An earlier exit from the playoffs than was merited by the strength of the squad, after the opposition had more energy and intensity.
- Melia keeps SKC in the game against the run of play, whereas Sporting don’t take advantage of their opportunities.
- The aging core of players is fully spent and aren’t at their top performance at season’s end.
- The other side utilized subs better.
There were several opportunities to avoid the same pitfalls throughout the year by rotating the squad, as many have covered. But there were also ways to mitigate them this game. The low block was a great choice without Pulido and against the ambitious Vancouver, but not for RSL. RSL against Seattle was ready to sit in a low block, hotly contest the midfield, and hit quickly on the break. Seattle couldn’t turn their possession into many good chances, but Sporting is not Seattle. They are built to generate chances via possession, at home, against a low block. That’s why Fontas and Ilie and Zusi are so effective despite their limitations. We’ve seen them do that all year! By sitting deep this game, SKC let RSL dictate the game much more of the game and ceded their best goalscoring method.
The personnel in this low block also exacerbated the weaknesses of the players. In the possession-heavy style that SKC ran most of the year, Ilie and Zusi flourish, but today they were liabilities. Ilie as a DM does not cover ground or win duels as much as a #6 in a low block should. SKC played three central midfielders but RSL’s midfield controlled much of the game— that is how you lose in the playoffs. Ilie, Roger, and Walter did not win 50/50s or close down RSL when they needed to, which gave RSL space to break down the low block. The midfield looked tired. Duels per FotMob for the midfield were Kinda 5 won out of 15, 4 of 10 for Ilie, 4 of 7 for Walter, and 3 of 10 for Roger. This is where the lack of squad rotation over the year, not playing Duke, and losing Hernandez hurt. It’s also where the substitutions or lack thereof today from PV hurt. Subbing off Kinda for Roger didn’t work, and PV didn’t trust anyone else.
Comment 2 recs
I'd expect academy experience for Naga's replacement
Especially with the move to the new MLS Division III. Probably fewer "old" players on SKC II.
Benny coaches the U17s and seems to have his eye on coaching at the senior level, but I’d also keep an eye on Rumba Munthali, who’s been an academy coach since 2016 and is currently SKC’s U19 coach.