Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Backe not only coach worth backing
by Ridge Mahoney, July 29th, 2010 8:20PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  los angeles galaxy, mls, new york red bulls, san jose earthquakes

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS] A revival of the Red Bulls propels Hans Backe squarely into the Coach of the Year picture, yet other candidates make this more than a one-horse race. Backe doesn’t have my vote for Coach of the Year. At least not yet.

SA's top five Coach of the Year candidates:
1. Hans Backe (New York)
2. Bruce Arena (Los Angeles)
3. Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake)
4. Frank Yallop (San Jose)
5. Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas)

It’s hard to insist that a team that won five games last year will disappoint if it doesn’t go deep in the playoffs, but having added Thierry Henry and (soon) Rafael Marquez to its roster after finishing the first half of its season at 8-5-2, expectations for New York are very high. Kudos to Backe for drafting rookie Tim Ream and bringing in midfielder Joel Lindpere and defender Roy Miller to good effect, but in a somewhat weak Eastern Conference, just making the playoffs isn’t really enough to anoint Backe as Coach of the Year.

That he’s done a very good job is without question. Yet with Juan Pablo Angel, Macoumba Kandji, Dane Richards, Carlos Mendes and other proven performers already in the house, Backe has also merely undone what had been badly done before.

Bruce Arenawon the honor last year, and while revamping a poor team into a good one is no picnic, just as hard a task is retaining momentum and continuing the improvement. The Galaxy has run off atop the overall standings at 12-2-4 (40 points), and numerically at least, has already hit the threshold at which teams usually make the playoffs. Arena has incorporated three young Brazilians and rookie Michael Stephens into the lineup, and tightened an already imposing defense while offsetting the loss of Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle to World Cup duty.

Los Angeles has struggled at home in the past two games, rallying with a late goal to tie San Jose, 2-2, at Home Depot Center a week ago, and getting thrashed, 4-1, by second-division Puerto Rico Islanders in a Concacaf Champions’ League match Tuesday. Maybe this is just the MLS version of a market correction, but if the Galaxy comes anywhere close to 20 wins, which is certainly possible, The Bruce might be The Choice.

Another coach coming off a good season shouldn’t be dismissed. Real Salt Lake rode a strong playoff run to the 2009 title after it squeezed into the playoffs at 11-12-7; if RSL stays on the heels of the Galaxy, or somehow passes it to win the Western Conference, Jason Kreis can’t be overlooked.

Columbus coach Robert Warzycha took a lot of criticism last year for benching Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Alejandro Moreno for their first playoff game against RSL, and eventually losing the series, 4-2 on aggregate. If the Crew tops the conference and reaches MLS Cup, will Warzycha get much of the credit?

Three other coaches – Gary Smith, Frank Yallop and Schellas Hyndman-- have upgraded and/or revamped their teams efficiently.

Yallop’s second season in San Jose ended with just seven wins and near-zero momentum. As has been the case in the past, injuries to foreign players have impaired progress this year -- Eduardo and Andre Luizare sidelined -- yet the Quakes are already within one of last year’s win total. Sparked by Bobby Convey and Chris Wondolowski and captain Ramiro Corrales, San Jose is a hard team to beat.

FC Dallas has only been beaten twice this season, and only the Galaxy can match that accomplishment. Like the Rapids, last year FCD fell just short of the playoffs. Hyndman has, like most of his counterparts in the Western Conference, infused a resilient – and underrated -- defense. He moved midfielder George John to the back line last year, and this spring scooped up veteran keeper Kevin Hartman and revived his career. He also has one of the league’s most dangerous attackers in David Ferreira and a potentially devastating forward line of Jeff Cunningham and newcomer Milton Rodriguez.

The Rapids nearly made the playoffs last year but their defense didn’t impress anybody. This season, Colorado is among the best defensive teams thanks to a couple of personnel changes but also the doctrines preached by Smith, whose messages of tenacity and accountability -- along with trades that landed Marvell Wynneand Jeff Larentowicz -- are paying off.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. Abroad: Guzan leaves Villa for Middlesbrough    
Brad Guzan will remain the English Premier League, but he might not start, putting him in ...
MLS Moves: Fire ships Igboananike to D.C.    
In a move that signals a continued roster purge that began with the arrival of new ...
What They're Saying: Chuba Akpom    
"I was playing against players I played with on FIFA when I was younger  -- [Didier] ...
MLS All-Star Game: Red rules the day    
The team that calls Avaya Stadium home usually wears blue, but red turned out to be ...
MLS Expansion: Atlanta's Villalba and Jones off on loan    
MLS expansion team Atlanta United FC has sent its two big signings on loan until it ...
Crowd Count: ICC match draws 86,641 fans in Columbus    
The International Champions Cup match between Paris St. Germain and Real Madrid at Ohio Stadium in ...
MLS Expansion: All signs point to Minnesota in 2017    
Atlanta United FC is the only MLS expansion team confirmed for 2017, but MLS commissioner Don ...
MLS Countdown: ASG absentee Ridgewell out Sunday    
A new MLS rule intended to keep players from skipping out on the All-Star Game means ...
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klopp    
"If you bring one player in for 100 pounds ($130 million) and he gets injured, then ...
U.S. Abroad: Brooks returns to action in Hertha win    
John Brooks became the first of the Americans who played at the 2016 Copa Centenario to ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives