Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dallas Decision

I'm on hold for the post-Morrow FC Dallas conference call. I've already put the poll up about new coaching possibilities, but there's probably a bunch the team will consider who I didn't include. Actually, the speed of the firing makes me think they might have someone in mind.
Oh, it's starting! General Manager Michael Hitchcock has an opening statement, then the call is open for questions from the media.
Hitch thanks us for covering the sport, repeats the firing decision. "We have great fans that deserve more. . . ton of respect for Steve personally. . . Not going in the direction we wanted to go. . . In the best interest of the club. "
Tobias Lopez is up first - asks about the short tenure of Morrow, and was it fair?
Hitch says the decision wasn't made lightly. He also admits the LA smackdown was a factor.
"Team not heading in direction we had planned." That seems to be Hitch's theme.
The coaching search is apparently just beginning.
Diego is up, makes a comment about finally getting a hold of Hitch.
Hitch says he doesn't think Morrow lost control of the team, but he accepts accountability for the direction of the team and is willing to turn it around.
Diego mentions the fans response on the FC Dallas blog - Hitch says that didn't factor into the decision, but that the fans matter and he knew they weren't happy with results.
Steve Davis is up - wants specifics on what factors Hitch looked at.
Hitch mentions the team's home record as poor, "heading wrong direction".
Buzz Carrick is up. Wants to know about coaching search method.
Hitch says they'll weigh pros and cons.
"Did you speak with anyone else about this decision?"
Hitch - hard decision, direction again, different type of leader needed for potential. He did speak with ownership.
Hitch says no players came to him and requested coaching change.
I ask if the off-field issues weren't an issue, would he look at the club results and make the same decision?
Hitch says whatever issues the team has, they'll deal with, but that the direction wasn't what it needed to be.
Ridge Mahoney asks about the performance of players Morrow brought in dooming him.
"It's not too late to fix this," says Hitch.
Scott French asks about leadership
Hitch says that he wants someone who can rally the team.
Greg Lalas asks about style.
Hitch says, "an attractive game will help us sell more tickets - win more games in an entertaining manner"
Hitch admits that if the Galaxy score had been closer, the decision would not have been made. 1-0 scoreline for example.
"We got embarrassed at home, in front of our biggest crowd."
"The stakes are continuing to be raised. We're all experiencing more pressure on performance. We want to put out a product that we can be proud of."
Jesus Padilla asks about Oscar Pareja.
"Obviously, Oscar, with his history with the club, is under consideration."
"Why make this decision now," asks SF
"Can't let the season go too long. I don't consider 5-1 a little hiccup."
TL - what was the process?
"I met with ownership yesterday and told them this was the direction I wanted to go," says Hitch.
Hitch also says that at the end of the year the owners will decide his own status.
"Was Morrow informed ahead of time?"
This morning.
I ask if, in addition to the scoreline being embarrassing, was the red card by Serioux a factor in the humiliation and thus, part of the decision to fire Morrow?
"Part scoreline - part performance by the team. They didn't fight back. The scoreline was embarrassing, but the tackle was part of the game. Adrian didn't mean to hurt the player."
One more question about timeline to hire new coach.
No timeline, but they will start search right away.
Conference call is over.
Who agrees or disagrees with Hitchcock's decision? Why?

12 comments:

FC Uptown said...

Was Becks blowing that kiss to Steve Morrow?

I wonder why now? And why did they fire Jorge Alvial just last week before the LA game? Not sure why they are going with an interim coach while they are looking at guys - in the middle of the season. Always the distractions going on. Have to think Hitch himself is about a hair's breath away from the ax. Ownership must take responsibility themselves - the decision making processes at FCD have always been fairly odd (Denilson/Ruiz giveaway/Losing Pareja/etc etc). If Kenny Cooper doesn't get the USMNT call-up because Dallas has a game on Wednesday as a result of a rescheduling of OzzFest, this will complete a truly horrific week.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Steve Sampson, please pick up the white courtesy telephone. Steve Sampson, please pick up the white courtesy telephone...

Hugo Sanchez, por favor encarque el telefono blanco de cortesia. Hugo Sanchez, por favor encarque el telefono blanco de cortesia...

FC Uptown said...

Sampson and Sanchez blow. They must be asking Schellas at SMU again for like the 50th time. He doesn't win in playoffs either though. Ex coach Dir may be available, but would he be interested? Pareja is great but now with the U-17s. Arena would never come to Texas. Maybe Spencer down in Houston is an option.

Josh said...

Hitchcock is out of his depth, and his answers in this conf call show that. So a 5-1 game influenced his decision? That seems like a rash decision. If the teams lack of fight bothered you, say that. He has to know his ass is on the line with his contract up at the end of the year, and his sales numbers suck, so this is a last ditch effort. We can only hope when he is gone, they go out and get someone who actually has experience and knows what to do, not just best guesses.

Anonymous said...

Could Dallas goafter Jason Kries?

IMHO, too soon for Steve M.

Anonymous said...

Firing after a little over 1 year is crazy.If something else was going on, besides a small losing streak and a blowout, I could see a firing...but this?

Also, if Hitchcock thinks a more attractive style of play and wins will fill more seats at PHP, he's crazy. Look at MLS today - Toronto will sellout regardless of wins; LA will have good ticket sales b/c of Beckham; DC is closely located to their fans & downtown, and will always do well, and Columbus, though top of the League, will have a freakin' hard time selling tix regardless of wins & attractiveness. Same w/Chivas. PHP is in Frisco -- a nice town but WAY far away from the Dallas population center -- I think it will take a while to deliver consistent sellouts, and that will have nothing to do w/Morrow. It will take years of growth of MLS (and Frisco+Dallas suburbs).

L.B. said...

If Steve Morrow had lost the respect of the club's veteran players, then I think the firing was just.

If it was purely on results, it was too soon because FCD hasn't been the worst team in the league.

But if the veterans had lost Morrow's respect, then the season was only going to get worse and may as well cut your losses now. The way the team fell behind and failed to fight back was troubling and could have been a product of the in-house friction.

Eugene said...

I think Hitchcock's comments about losing at home were very meaningful -- there is no better way to frustrate fans and drive down attendance than to keep losing at home.

The team only won 10 home games of the past 30? C'mon, that's a horrible record.

To be completely fair, Dallas has a very talented team and Morrow has never fully inspired or capitalized on that talent.

I think that its still early enough in the season and there is enough firepower and depth in FCD's locker room to be successful in 2008.

Dallas needs a guy like Preki who will bring attractive, fast, short-pass, attacking soccer to Frisco.

I think it would be really interesting if they looked south to Mexico for a new head coach. They should definitely keep their assistant coaching staff though to maintain continuity.

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