Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Red Bull boss deserves honor
by Ridge Mahoney, November 11th, 2010 1:43AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS] The league names its Coach of the Year Thursday, and in a very tight decision we go with Hans Backe of the New York Red Bulls who got up to speed right away in his first MLS season.

Coach of the Year Finalists
Hans Backe (New York)
Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas)
Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake).

Before we work through the three official finalists and (try to) justify our choice, there should be kudos to others for jobs well done.

Colorado improved by only six points from last year, yet before during the season Coach Gary Smith toughened up the midfield and strengthened the back line to get the Rapids into the playoffs for the first time since 2006. In Philadelphia, the Union won only eight games but jazzed up the local populace and averaged nearly 20,000 fans, a good first season for a young team and Coach Peter Nowak. And in case your forgot, the Quakes won just seven games last year, so hats off to Frank Yallop.

New to MLS but savvy in all matters of building a team, Hans Backe proved that last year’s Red Bulls were not so much a poor unit but rather poorly prepared. Before DPs Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez swooped up their millions, Backe had worked Joel Lindpere, Tony Tchani, Chris Albright and Tim Ream into vital roles and molded New York into a crisp, competitive team. Pundits talked tactics and formations and whatnot to explain away its 3-1 home loss and elimination in the playoffs; Backe said simply, “We weren’t good enough.” Right again.

FC Dallas nearly reached the playoffs last year with a late-season spurt, which prompted expectations it would qualify this time around. Sometimes teams reach that threshold and stagnate, but instead, FCD cracked the league’s elite tier and tied the league mark for fewest losses (four) with a potent blend of stylish attack and rigid defense. Schellas Hyndman shifted players around and blooded rookies Zach Loyd and Eric Alexander to cover the injury absences of several regulars. FCD can be overly reliant on keeper Kevin Hartman, but hey, more than a few coaches declined to sign him. Not Hyndman.

Ordinarily, a championship team doesn’t have much room for staggering improvement, but since RSL snuck into the playoffs last year with a 11-12-7 record (40 points), Coach Jason Kreis had plenty of upside to strive for. His players delivered: RSL jumped up to 56 points at 15-4-11 (which tied a league record for fewest losses), scored the most goals (45), and set a league record for fewest conceded (20) while also advancing to the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions’ League.

Backe transformed an embarrassment into a conference champion, Hyndman is less than three years removed from the college game yet one game away from the final, and Kreis hammered out a remarkable season in which every opponent targeted the defending champ.

Our selection: Backe. (Now, let’s see if he can top it next year.)



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Where to Watch European Soccer    
Here are 329 places Soccer America readers recommend where you should go to watch soccer for ...
Mario Goetze's beautiful backward nutmeg on Brecko    
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Mario Goetze, Germany's World Cup final hero, not only has a nose for ...
This season's most amazing free kick so far    
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] You can hardly blame Hamburg SV goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny for remaining rooted to ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 29] Robbie Keane ran wild in the major-market matchup of Designated Players to keep ...
What They're Saying: Landon Donovan    
"I've always tried to be a guy who makes the right play in front of the ...
Onus on Cavani for PSG against Barcelona    
[UCL: Three Games to Watch] Paris St. Germain-Barcelona is the marquee match of Matchday 2 in ...
What They're Saying: Paul McGinley    
"I bounced ideas off him all week, he didn't preach to me, he didn't tell me ...
MLS's nouveau riche dominate millionaire club    
[MAKING A LIST] Big money has been flowing into Major League Soccer. Of the 15 players ...
USA and Brazil to play U-23 match in Brasilia    
[DATEBOOK] The U.S. World Cup team never got to Brasilia, falling in the round of 16 ...
Report: Chivas USA set to go on hiatus after 2014 season    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The news should come as no surprise. Chivas USA, sold back to MLS by ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives