On Tuesday, FC Cincinnati fired Alan Koch and
named 29-year-old Frenchman Yoann Damet as its interim coach.
On Thursday, New England fired Brad Friedel and named Mike Lapper, his teammate at UCLA, the Columbus Crew and on the U.S. national team, as its interim coach.
On Saturday, FC Cincinnati and New England went out and secured impressive wins for their new bosses.
While they remain tied for last place in the Eastern Conference, the wins were impressive enough and changes have come early enough in the season that they have given FC Cincinnati and New England confidence that they can get into playoff contention.
Heading into its match against the Montreal Impact, FC Cincinnati had lost five games in a row and was without a goal in 521 minutes. The team that couldn't buy a goal got well-constructed goals from Costa Rican Allan Cruz in the 7th minute and Fatai Alashe three minutes after he came on in the second half to beat Montreal, 2-1, for its first win since March 24.
Damet said everything wasn't perfect but he commended his players for taking in the attacking ideas he presented to them.
“You want to provide an environment that allows them to express themselves," he said, "and the players showed tonight that they are capable of playing football. We asked them to believe in themselves, to have confidence, and the satisfaction is for them. They fully deserve the credit for the performance of this afternoon.”
While FC Cincinnati's problems have been scoring goals, the Revolution's woeful defense -- an MLS record 18 goals conceded in its last three games -- got Friedel canned. That changed instantly as the Revs beat San Jose, 3-1.
“This team is good enough to do amazing things," Lapper said. "I’m not going to say we can win MLS right now, because it’s only one win. But they can do great things like you saw tonight.”
Goals from Juan Agudelo, Cristian Penilla and Carles Gil staked the Revs to a 3-0 lead, and the Quakes, 2-0-2 in their previous four games, were never in the match drew an announced crowd of 20,610, the largest crowd of the season at Gillette Stadium.
“I told them just go out and play the game," added Lapper, "and find the passion and joy that we had growing up with the sport. We challenged them and upper management also challenged them because we’re all responsible for what happened with Brad. You can’t just point to one person. I think that’s unfair."
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire