MLS: Coaches, GMs and Wet-Dream Thinking

With the recent rash of firings/resignations of Major League Soccer (MLS) coaches – not to mention the barely moral decision to keep around one coach well past his use-by date (though there is hope yet) – chatter about replacements, as well as the talents and qualities that will make said replacements worth the dinero, dominated the soccer-sphere for a second day. In fact, USSoccerplayas.com’s front page looks a little like a special edition given the consistency of the stories (not going to bother linking; the links will change).

A kind of mental quirks typically surfaces in these discussions and this latest round is no different; it could, in fact, be a little worse given how loosely the concept of “ambition” gets thrown around by guys like Alexi Lalas, who has announced his intention to accept nothing less than “sexy” in a new coach for the LA Galaxy (brain…hurting….). But this idea appears just about everywhere, including in a Clemente Lisi column about what he’d term Bruce Arena’s inevitable struggles with Red Bull New York (for the record, I like Lisi’s work on the general subject):

“Now comes the tough task of signing a new coach. With the club’s deep pockets, I would not be surprised if the search is centered on a European coach with plenty of experience. The coach of Red Bull Salzburg, NY’s sister team, is former Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni. Other names that could be in the mix are Jürgen Klinsmann and Jose Mourinho, if the LA Galaxy doesn’t get there first. All these men are currently out of work and all of them would make for a great addition to MLS.

Those names – albeit minus Trapattoni and plus Fabio Capello – appear in Billy Witz’ LA Daily News column Lalas’ search. As much as seeing any of those coaches in MLS would be, um, kinda neat, I’m far from convinced they would make “great additions to MLS” outside the marketing department. In a non-response response, (meaning that) Goal.com’s Pat Walsh (could very well have written his piece before or after Witz and Lisi) points to the holes in this, well, wet-dream kind of thinking: Continue reading

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EPL Daily: Mass Exodus at Stamford?; Defoe still no respect;

The UK’s Sun – among many others – are reporting that Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Florent Malouda, Ricardo Carvalho, and several others are on their way out after the departure of Jose Mourinho. It won’t essentially happen until the summer, but could you see this kind of mass move going through or is it just an example of post-partem hysteria? We’ll see…

Jermain Defoe still will have to fight for a starting spot again at White Hart Lane, despite his 2 blazing strikes against Anorthosis Famagusta in a 6-1 drubbing of the Cypriot squad. Jol – who is on the hot seat himself – has said he will only get a real look if a new contract is signed sometime soon. With the results within the EPL going the way they are, I feel like Jol has no real bargaining chips. The truth is – when you’re 1-1-4 and with no real signs of recent improvement – you have to switch things around. And what a sacrifice it is (complete sarcasm), throwing Defoe in there as a ‘curveball’. Jol should be sacked. Other rumors – very unsupported ones – point Mourinho as possible successor (some have even said Manchester United, a replacement for Ole Fergie).

Martin Rogers has really established himself as a guy ready to cover every aspect of football/soccer. All this for Yahoo! Sports. I look forward to what he writes every day and it never seems to get stale…take a look at his recent feature on Hollywood FC. A club team in LA that has the financial backing of Without a Trace’s Anthony LaPaglia (and a former semi-pro Aussie keeper at that) and the soccer studs that were Frank LeBoeuf, Eric Wynalda, Vinnie Jones, etc. Take a look.

Mourinho axed, hari-kari’d, whatever you want to call it…

He said his goodbyes this morning and got on out of London. His next destination – who knows?

Former Isreali coach and current Chelsea director of football Avram Grant will take over first-team duties with the help of Mourinho’s number two Steve Clarke (Ryan, at least it was a quick decision without the rumor of Juande Ramos flying around). Many thought it would be former Juventus man Didier Deschamps, but it seems that Grant’s role will be permanent. In fact, his arrival from Portsmouth in the summer certainly compounded the already iffy relationship between Roman Abrahamovich and Mourinho. The feud intensified way before that, however, in January when Mourinho was looking to solidify his squad but Abrahamovich wanted him to play with what he’s got, namely Andrei Shevchenko. Communication between the two fizzled and after three years at the helm, Mourinho left by “mutual consent” – the football-world’s version of hari-kari.

Some reading material:

Well put together time-line of Mourinho’s unravelling

The crisis meeting

Former captain Ray Wilkins had this to say,

“I’m absolutely astounded at what’s happened. Winning football matches is what the game’s about and he is a winning manager who puts a winning msentality in players’ heads and they go and win things.”

It’s one of those things you hear about but you completely expect things to work themselves out between Abrahamovich and Mourinho. But that was not the case. I mean – how much higher can Mourinho go when it comes to prestige and resources? Where does Mourinho go from here? And who exactly is Avram Grant?