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
Crew firing of Warzycha was inevitable
by Ridge Mahoney, September 2nd, 2013 8:14PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  columbus crew, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Columbus got an early jump on the 2014 season Monday by announcing it has fired head coach Robert Warzycha and replaced him with former assistant Brian Bliss, its technical director, as interim coach.

Warzycha was relieved of his duties by Crew operator-investor Anthony Precourt over the weekend after the Crew lost, 1-0, at home to Seattle despite playing with a man advantage for most of the match. Bliss, 47, will take over a team that is eighth in the Eastern Conference at 8-13-5 yet still has a slim shot to make the playoffs.

“Sometimes in these situations a fresh perspective and a new voice are needed,” said Bliss in a statement. “I’m confident in our players and the talent on our roster. I know these guys have a lot of fight in them, and they have the desire to continue battling and finish strong. Our fans deserve to see the best out of this team, and I plan to do what’s necessary to make that happen.”

The announcement comes five weeks after Precourt’s purchase of the team and its stadium from Hunt Sports Group for a reported price of $68 million. At a press conference Monday, general manager Mark McCullers revealed that a decision not to retain Warzycha for the 2014 season had already been made prior to determining his tenure should end at this juncture. The disappointing loss to Seattle, the start of which was delayed more than an hour because of a lightning storm, didn’t play a major role, according to McCullers.

“I don't think I would hang it on a specific loss,” said McCullers. “I'm not sure that the result Saturday would have changed the decision we're announcing today. When it was determined that we were going to make a change and that we weren't going to renew or extend his option, we decided that now would be the time to go ahead and make that move.”

Despite his long service to the club, which began as a player in the 1996 startup of Major League Soccer, a segment of fans had become disgruntled with the team’s direction under Warzycha. An assistant coach since 2003, he took over after Sigi Schmid led the team to its only MLS Cup title in 2008.

Columbus won the Eastern Conference regular-season title and its third Supporters' Shield in 2009, but then began a slide that dropped it short of the playoffs last season. Warzycha’s last victory, a 2-0 defeat of Toronto Aug. 17, had tied him with the late Tom Fitzgerald for most wins, 70, by a Crew head coach. But that was the only time all season the Crew had won back-to-back games, and its next two outings were shutout defeats. Some fans would wave and throw pink slips when hearing his name during pregame introductions.

Assistant coach Mike Lapper was retained. Two other assistants, Ricardo Iribarren and Vojislav Stanisic, have been let go.

Bliss, a former U.S. international who briefly served as interim head coach of Kansas City in 2006 and was head coach of the A-League Connecticut Wolves in 1999, will continue as technical director.

The firing comes just two days before the Crew hosts conference rival Houston in yet another important match. If Bliss wants to alter the roster, he doesn’t have much time; the roster freeze date is Sept. 13. There are eight games left in the regular season.

“I think the initial reaction -- you hope -- is a positive one,” added Bliss. “I'm going to try to make it a positive one. Then you get everyone's attention to refocus on what the goal is. We still think there are some good parts to this team, even with a couple of the injuries that we've had. We still think there is some depth on the roster, some quality on the roster. Getting a few results down the road in these last few games is achievable. We can get ourselves on the right track.”


No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"Every day you learn. You learn about every individual, about your group, about the chemistry, about ...
MLS Week 16: Results & standings    
Chad Barrett scored in the 90th minute to give the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-1 tie ...
Euro 2016: Portugal saves it until late    
Portugal, which tied all three games in the group stage, was minutes away from heading to ...
What They're Saying: Sunil Gulati    
"Our base-line [for average attendance] was 30,000; 35,000 would've been great, and 40,000 beyond our wildest ...
What They're Saying: Investment banker Keith Harris    
"It was a shock result. There are four players that we can reflect on and the ...
What They're Saying: Megan Rapinoe    
"Gay bars are so important for me and my community. That could have been me. That ...
What They're Saying: Gudmundur Benediktsson    
"It's been quite strange and actually hectic because the phone hasn't stopped ringing. But I'm really ...
MLS: Top fives in Fan XI voting remain steady    
The MLS All-Star Game will be played July 28 in San Jose and every few days ...
MLS Countdown: Rivals wrap up season series early    
The MLS campaign has yet to reach its midpoint yet already teams are facing each other ...
USA-Colombia: Lots at stake in third-place game    
The USA must quickly get back in the saddle after its disastrous semifinal against Argentina when ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives