Brad Friedel becomes third MLS coach to get the boot in nine days

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.

7 comments about "Brad Friedel becomes third MLS coach to get the boot in nine days".
  1. James Madison, May 9, 2019 at 10:16 p.m.

    Motivating players who are "not under pressure" is one thng, and that is a coach's responsibility.  However, signing players who create pressure for playing spots is another, and making the resources available for the latter---both money and staff---is the responsibility of the Krafts.  Friedel would have been wise not to accept the job withut some concrete assurance that the Krafts would carry out their part, and any prospective new coach should also seek such assurance.

  2. Richard Broad replied, May 9, 2019 at 11:30 p.m.

    This is not a fair comment. Robert Kraft has been rather busy----IN FLORIDA!!!

  3. Kevin Leahy, May 10, 2019 at 11:14 a.m.

    Knew he was in trouble as soon as he threw his players under the bus!

  4. Ben Myers, May 10, 2019 at 12:11 p.m.

    The Krafts think NE Patriots American football 99.9% of the time.  Their unwillingness to invest in soccer expertise and better players is an embarrassment to MLS.  Kraft scion Jonathan knows squat about the game and he is daddy's man at the Revs.  How about they sell the team to owners who understand the world of soccer and how the game is played?  I'll offer $1 for the team, and assume all its debts and obligations, sight unseen. 

    To some extent, Friedel is right.  The lack of a promotion-relegation scheme in US pro soccer has made not just the player complacent.  The owners are complacent to the point of being somnolent.  No wonder the Revs are a growing disaster.

  5. Ric Fonseca replied, May 10, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

    Sorry B. Myers, first Friedel has been out of the country far too long, kudos for his long-standing GK job with an EL team..... even his pseudo-English accented - or is it "brogue?" is indicative that in a way he's lost some of that which is good ole USA futbol-soccer.  As for the Kraft family, I do agree they're more of an "American football" Pats family and couldn't care a rat's behind for our jogo bonito.  And the Krafts are NOT somnolent, they're just plain futbol-soccer ignorant, while daddy gets is massages in Florida.  anyhow, just sayi'n....  Good luck Friedel!!!

  6. beautiful game, May 11, 2019 at 3:53 p.m.

    Any time a coach opines a slew of excuses, it's an excuse for failure that starts at the top. Friedel was a great keeper, but a poor choice as coach, and ownership for years has been milking its support base. What's more frustrating is that the MLS kahunas remain comatose to ownership incompetence. This franchise is kaput. 

  7. frank schoon, May 12, 2019 at 9:10 a.m.

    In short, you don’t hire a former  goalie as coach..Period! 

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