Brad Friedel became the third MLS head coach
fired in nine days when the New England Revolution relieved him of his duties on Thursday and named assistant coach Mike Lapper as interim coach.
The move, which follows the departure of Anthony Hudson (Colorado) and Alan Koch (FC Cincinnati), came less than 24 hours after the Revs' 5-0 loss at Chicago.
The Revs have given up an MLS record 15 goals in their last three games -- 6-1 and 5-0 losses and 4-4 tie -- and 18 goals in their last four games -- they also lost to Montreal, 3-0 -- tying the league record set by Minnesota United in 2017.
The Revs job was the first pro job as a head coach for Friedel, who was working as a Fox Sports analyst and U.S. U-19 national team coach when he was picked to take over for Jay Heaps, who was dismissed in September 2017. He brought in Lapper, who played with him at UCLA.
Friedel enjoyed one of the most accomplished playing careers in U.S, history, starting in goal when the USA reached the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup and spending 17 seasons in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Tottenham. He earned a UEFA "Pro" coaching license, the organization's highest certification, and spent the final years as a player assisting at Tottenham's academy.
The Revs have struggled since reaching and losing in MLS Cup for a fifth time in 2014. They failed to make the playoffs for a third year in a row in 2018. But Friedel kept his job even though New England won just three of 17 games in the second half of the season.
Support has dwindled at Gillette Stadium and the commitment of the Kraft family, which has owned the Revs since MLS's launch in 1996, been continually called into question.
After a 2-0 loss to expansion FC Cincinnati in late March, Friedel complained about the lack of pressure on his players.
"There’s no relegation," he said. "They don’t get fined. They don’t have fans waiting by their cars. They don’t have people beating them up. They don’t have all this. They don’t have the pressures that they have in other leagues."
What he couldn't explain is why players on other MLS teams lack the same pressures but succeed.