Sunday, September 7, 2008

Top coach?

With the finish line in sight, the coach of the year award in MLS seems to be headed down towards two candidates. Many coaches have done well this year and there is still a huge portion of the season remaining, so perhaps someone else will distinguish themselves.

For now, though, we've narrowed it down to Sigi Schmid and Frank Yallop. Of course, the opinions differ.

It would be hard to argue against Sigi Schmid. After all, few expected Columbus to even contend for a playoff spot let alone contend for the Supporters Shield. But that's where Schmid has the Crew, poised to run away with the league's best record.

Still, I've got to give some props to Frank Yallop. San Jose is in a fantastic position given everything San Jose has gone through this season. Remember the 'Quakes are an expansion team, and we all know how terrible Chivas USA, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC did in their respective expansion seasons.

Of course, this is contingent upon San Jose making the playoffs. If San Jose misses out on the postseason, all bets are off.


TJ said...

What about Jason Kreis?

My vote is for Sigi...

Jon E said...

Realistically, I can't root for the Quakes to make the playoffs because it's pretty likely that if they do, the Galaxy won't.

But part of me wants Yallop to do well enough to win coach of the year so that Lieweke might pause a moment to ask himself whether the fact that Yallop can do better with an expansion team than with the Galaxy might say something important about the disastrous influence that the Galaxy FO's priorities and practices have on the team.

starinyourfire said...

it's a toss up between sigi and yallop for me, they've done great things for their clubs this season and its hard not to see that.

jason kreis is in third RSL can't win on the road but can protect home turf, although that could change with whatever is left with this season.

d.s. said...

As an Earthquakes fan, I am delighted with the job Yallop has done here - taking an expansion team and producing a potential playoff contender out of it. He has made some fine choices in picking good players, smart trades and acquisitions, etc., and his summer acquisitions have certainly helped turn this team around.

Having said all that, and with all due respect to Sigi Schmid, I think the award should go to a less flashy choice, a choice less obvious only because his team has been doing just what has been expected of them, unlike the "overachieving" Crew and Quakes. I am, of course, talking about Dom Kinnear. Let's look at some factoids:

(1) Dom has managed to get his squad peak at the right time, going into the home stretch of the season. The fact that they are doing this despite playing an insane number of matches this season (while NE, DCU, LAG, CHV are all showing strains of having done so) is great testimony to the depth that Dom has built for this team.

(2) Speaking of depth, not only has Dom acquired the right players, he has made sure that they get the right opportunities to excel and showcase their talent -- the development of Holden and Ianni into US U-23 MNT quality players is a great example. The development of Geoff Cameron, who, in the opinion of some, is a likely Rookie of the Year candidate, is another example.

(3) Of course, Dom had to deal with having some of his best players gone for National team duties - Ching, De Rosario, Onstad, Clark are all important team veterans.

(4) Despite not having produced as many points as the Crew, Houston still boasts the fewest games lost (5) statistic among all MLS teams, showing that they can eke out a point under many different circumstances.

(5) The brand of soccer they play is a lot like that of Chelsea: not particularly slick but, being based more on transitions and controlling the tempo of the game, is very effective.

It will be interesting to see how the next two matches for Houston (both against the Quakes) turn out -- I think these two matches will be crucial for both teams -- for Houston to stamp their mark and charge full steam into the playoffs, and for San Jose to establish themselves as legitimate contenders. Anything less than six points is a brake on Houston's momentum, and anything less than four points will mean that the Quakes' season will be over.

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