As most of you know by now, MLS posted an article in which Nick Sakiewicz confirms some of the coaching candidates on his “short short list.” I’ll quickly break down some of this candidates.
Tony Meola/John Harkes
I bunched these guys together because they are very similar in that neither have any real experience. It would be very odd to choose someone with even less experience than Curtin when experience was meant to be a big part of this coaching search. Personally, I think neither guy has much of a shot unless everything falls apart for the Union. These guys are safety picks.
That being said, I would try to convince Meola to sign on as a goalkeeping coach to replace Vartughian. We seriously need more coaches. Maybe Harkes can be convinced to join the coaching staff too?
Anyone who has read my Big Soccer or Reddit posts knows I am adamantly against Jesse Marsch. Why? Like Nowak and Hackworth, Marsch was part of the Bob Bradley national team staff. If we are bringing in an outside guy to get away from the Nowak legacy, why would we bring in someone from the same coaching tree? Having worked with our two ex-coaches, how many new ideas does he really have?
Also, Marsch is your stereotypical American coach. He favors pragmatic, grind-it-out soccer. People will bringing up his success with Montreal (despite not making the playoffs), but Marsch’s team played very boring, uninspiring soccer. Do we really want to go back to the negativity of Nowak or Hackworth era soccer?
While with Montreal, Jesse Marsch developed a reputation as being stubborn and difficult to work with. He in part left because he wanted full control of the team without the interference of a GM. Allocating full power to the manager has not worked for us in our five years of existence. Why bring on another control freak? If anything, not willing to work with a dedicated GM has to be a deal breaker. I am still holding out hope that we sign a full-time GM.
Finally, there seemed to be a rift between Marsch and the Italians at Montreal. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nesta isn’t the easiest person to work with, but word coming out of Montreal when he was fired suggested the two really didn’t get along. Do we want to bring in someone who could risk alienating big name players we signed? Didn’t Hackworth’s handling of Torres, Kleberson, Adu, and Maidana warn us of the damage a stubborn man with an ego can cause?
I really want nothing to do with Marsch.
We all know he is on the list. Of the listed candidates. he is my favorite. Unlike the first two, he has more experience both managing and with this team. Unlike Marsch, Curtin has impressed me with his tactical setup and ability to manage the players.
That being said, Curtin still is rough around the edges. KYW Philly Soccer Show has condemned his unwillingness to play Pedro Ribeiro. I have to agree. So far into his tenure, Curtin’s handling of young players has been really disappointing. Ribeiro, himself, is also the natural candidate to fill the void of Chaco during his injury.
Instead, Curtin has juggled the rest of the lineup and played our normal 11 far too consistently. Keep a close eye on players like Casey and Le Toux to see if this overuse runs them into the ground during this final stretch.
Regardless, I would choose Curtin over the other three any day.
Is this it?
I really don’t think this is the list. Considering we have been linked to three European managers, I think any list without a European candidate is not the complete list. Rene Meulensteen is a name that just hasn’t gone away. He and his wife have been spotted by Twitter and Big Soccer users at the Union’s academy. He strikes me as still in the race, and my personal favorite of all the linked managers.
Why Rene over Curtin? If Rene is hired, Curtin will still be kept on as an assistant. As I said, he is still rough around the edges. Working with Meulensteen should really improve his coaching skills. Rene is a guy who is a technical guru and a huge proponent of youth. All of this would ensure that once Curtin does get the big job, he will be far more capable rather than learning on the job.
Tell me, who would you like as the Union manager?