I'm a little bit behind on the conversation, which is going on here in Bill's thread. Let me catch up a little.
I was growing to like Curt Onalfo. He was about number five on my list of former members of the 1996 Galaxy that I thought would be a good head coach, but he talked a very good game about bringing an attacking style to Kansas City, who had fallen on lean times post-Preki and post-Gansler. So I consistently overrated them every preseason. Pretty much because I'm a huge mark for Conrad and Hartman. But especially this year, when Claudio Lopez looked so virtuous compared to David Beckham, accepting a pay cut to rededicate himself to bringing a winner back to the Kansas Cities.
So, this weekend, a Lopez red card to help turn a laugher into an all-time comedy masterpiece. Is he going to play for free next year?
I don't know what you do about the Wizards. Of course, even the defending MLS Cup winner probably would have trouble justifying staying on the job after being beaten mercilessly by one of the Western Conference landfills - oh, right, Sigi. Well, there are some extenuating circumstances there.
Which statistic do you pay attention to? Their record says things are salvageable this year, after all - they're only two games below break-even. But, thanks to the Great God Parity, they have the twelfth best record in the league right now. Which is misleading, because they just lost to #13, and #14 could probably beat them just as handily.
The sad truth is that this team has been in a tailspin ever since they crash-landed in MLS Cup 2004. Another sad truth is that since that time, the Crew went through a similar fall to the basement, and have completely recovered. Another sad truth is that out of the teams that didn't exist when that game was played, all of them are now in front of the Wizards. Yet another sad truth is that while they're playing in the baseball stadium, the incentive to build a winner is pretty miniscule.
I can't in good conscience say "Kansas City should phone it in until they move into The Trails," because it's a year or two out of our lives. I don't believe in MLS Laborpocalypse yet, but I also don't think the soccer economy is going to change enough to where you can build a good young team and expect that core to stick around three or four years. The good players will flee to Europe, and the bad ones will cling to the team like barnacles. And that's assuming your youth movement gets guys better than...okay, this isn't fair, Chance Myers is hurt, maybe he comes back and dominates the league. Could easily happen, for all I know.
So who should Vermes hire? All I can think of are comedy options like Mo Johnston or Preki. I'm not even sure Thomas Rongen is a comedy option at this point. The best option is for this group of Blues to emulate Sky Blue, and make Conrad the player-coach.
The Sky Blue story makes the Wizards look like Busby-era United. On paper, New Jersey is in control of their destiny, could sneak into the playoffs, and hey, anything is possible then.
So that's part of the reason why, according to Frank Giase of the Star-Ledger, Sky Blue boss Thomas Hoffstetter is not particularly thrilled that interim coach Kelly Lindsey left in a minute and a huff.
Ian Sawyers, we recall, was given the boot earlier this year over "disagreements with management," details of which were beyond my Google-fu.
EDIT - great soccernet article by Jacqueline Purdy has more details.
I'd love to hear Lindsay's side of the story, but as far as I know, she's been silent. There's no truth to the rumor that her answering machine message is "Take This Job and Shove It."
Like Kansas City, this doesn't come across as a team aware that its season isn't over. And like Kansas City, Sky Blue has had to see clubs that didn't exist until recently lap them on the field. The pre-existing teams should have been a little more prepared for the season, but New Jersey did the worst job in WPS of the three.
Unless Rampone leads Sky Blue to the title, of course. Then Hofstetter will be vindicated in his Steinbrennerism, and SBFC will be the most hilarious ongoing women's soccer story in history. So, go Sky Blue!