Monday, May 28, 2007

Should Sarachan Be Fired?

Should Sarachan be fired? That's the question MLS Underground is asking today. It's not a new one. Many Fire fans have been asking this for a couple years. Going into the 2007 season they were my dark horse pick to finish last. I wouldn't have put a lot of money on them for sure finishing last in the East. But every year we seem to have a team that surprises people and falls apart. The Fire were the best candidate for that. I didn't think Sarachan was changing the team up enough, their back line was too slow and Barrett and Rolfe getting more attention than they deserved.

What bothers me about this question is the timing. I do not understand why teams go into a new season with less than 100% confidence in a coach and when things don't go well they fire the coach only to scramble to find a replacement. Even worse they miss out on being able to give a new coach the off-season to make trades, sign new players and train the team in ways they feel they need. That is, not only do you piss away the first few games of the season but you're making it hard for anything to go well until the season is over.

That is why the question should be what if anything Chicago can gain right now from firing Sarachan. What changes could a new coach make? Who could be the new coach? Who is even available? Bradley and Nowak had their interim label removed for USMNT. Colin Clarke's signed with Puerto Rico. Soehn and Onalfo are in their first year with their clubs. So who? Brian Bliss? Denis Hamlet? I like Hamlett but if you feel things are going so poorly that it can't wait until the off-season to make a change, why would you not completely changes things? Why put the general's under study in charge?

A new coach may be able to squeeze a bit more juice of out the squad but unless they're able to bring in a bit more creativity to their offense and some pace for their defense things won't be very different under the new coach in 2007 than under Sarachan. That doesn't mean that Sarachan deserves to have the job. It's too bad they didn't use last summer to seize the moment, bring in a coach like Onalfo, Soehn or even Morrow with fresh ideas. I fail to see how a new coach right now will change things enough to be worth the risk. The risk being that you give the job to someone who isn't best suited simply because you need to hire someone, anyone, right away. They'd be better served waiting until December to make this move when teams will be willing to part with their coaches and players as they try to change up their teams.

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