Are there differing expectations for our Coach and our Sporting Director in 2017?

Discussion in 'Columbus Crew SC' started by hangthadj, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. hangthadj

    hangthadj Member+

    A.S. Roma
    Mar 27, 2001
    Beacon, NY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    The divorce of Ali Curtis and NYRB got me thinking about what are standards for success that we are grading Gregg Berhalter against in both his positions.

    After last year's embarrassment on every level for the organization Berhalter still seems safe in both positions as Coach and Sporting Director. Many would argue that is fair and one down season isn't a reason to let him go. There are convincing arguments for this.

    Coach Gregg benefits from last season's disaster in a way. Expectations are so low coming off last year's embarrassment on every level for the club that many would consider squeaking back into the playoffs as a 5 or 6 seed as a success. Coach Gregg could point to playoffs in 3 of 4 years, and 25 seconds of hope while hosting an MLS Cup final.

    At the same time, this will be the 4th season for Gregg as Sporting Director. Gregg's work as Sporting Director is hamstrung a bit by Precourt's refusal to invest in either top level DP's or more importantly a true Crew B squad in USL or what have you. Whatever vision Sporting Director Gregg may have for the squad and development of young players is essentially a tossed out the window once we loan them to Pittsburgh or what have you. There is no continuity in training style or philosophy. We send these players out and hope that Pittsburgh isn't a total shotshow and that they don't get injured.

    So then, what are we grading Gregg the Sporting Director against? Does the stagnation of Wil Trapp fall under the umbrella of Coach Gregg or Sporting Director Gregg? We have nobody to challenge Pipa and no true like for like replacement for the 4th consecutive year. Is that the fault of Coach Gregg or Sporting Director Gregg? Does the addition 7 central defensive midfielders reflect the philosophy of Coach Gregg or Sporting Director Gregg. If youth such as Crognale, Steffen, Martinez, and now Artur don't develop is that the fault of Coach Gregg or Sporting Director Gregg?

    As mentioned, Sporting Director Gregg is hamstrung by Precourt. But, how do we decide whether or not it is time to possibly go after a well respected mind like Ali Curtis in 2017 or 18, or just stay the course with this model? If playoffs are success for Coach Gregg, are playoffs alone success for Sporting Director Gregg in 2017, or does he need something more?
     
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  2. porchlight

    porchlight Member+

    Jul 27, 2013
    Crawlumbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Barley making the the playoffs is not much of a goal..Winning the East or being the second seed are good goals..

    It looks like change is coming at least defensively. Gregg is addressing the biggest problem area.

    With shallow pockets, I would say 3G has to shop for bargains and that's on Precourt.

    Some players have developed well under 3G management (Meram..Finley..Ola...Tchani)
     
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  3. Placid Casual

    Placid Casual Member+

    Apr 2, 2004
    Bentley's Roof
    Seriously @hangthadj - The Crew spend all that time writing out Head Coach and Sporting Director and you demote him. Sad!
     
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  4. Kyle Crew

    Kyle Crew Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 23, 2013
    Columbus, Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    While I would normally agree with some of what you wrote, you just can't help yourself can you. Not only being in MLS Cup, but hosting it, doesn't seem to be enough for you. Blaming the coach, any coach, for a complete and total player error is dumb. Just dumb.

    Give GB at least a crumb of credit. In 2 seasons, he took Warzycha's true shitshow of a team, that couldn't make the playoffs, and was HORRID to watch, and turned them into a team that was pleasing on the eye and good enough to host the final.
     
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  5. Placid Casual

    Placid Casual Member+

    Apr 2, 2004
    Bentley's Roof
    Except the player error is a direct result of the way Berhalter wants them to play.
     
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  6. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I would like to see us finish top three and win the first playoff round. Barring a mid-season signing, I don't see it happening. I think we'll still have hope and optimism by the end of May, but I think we'll struggle to make the playoffs, making them barely.

    Gregg survives into 2018. He's not the coach on March 1st, 2019.

    I really hope I'm wrong with my prediction of how we end the season.
     
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  7. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

    Sep 7, 1999
    It may be the fault of Crognale, Steffen, Martinez and Artur. Some players are lazy, some have a smaller ceiling than expected and some aren't that good. Remember, this is MLS, way down the pecking order in youth development.

    Sporting Director Gregg has done a great job bringing in players. Not everyone works out but that's the nature of the sport. Not every Chelsea signing works out either. Ggg has done a fine job with limited resources.

    Coach Ggg made the error of thinking his 2015 team was good enough for 2016. A few injuries, slump in player form and we see what happened. I think he has learned and made some upgrades. We are on a two fold limited budget and it's not a bad idea to have the same person for both jobs. We are a budget team in a budget league. Ggg's doing fine in my book.
     
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  8. TRUJDUB

    TRUJDUB Member+

    Nov 22, 2015
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    I concur he is doing the best with limited resources. He has made mistakes but in large part due to restrictions. I blame the owner and would not fire Gregg because the Crew would not get better. It is possible that we would do better if he had someone working with him and Gregg only in one role. Again that is on our owner.
     
  9. hangthadj

    hangthadj Member+

    A.S. Roma
    Mar 27, 2001
    Beacon, NY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    I agree with you. When I brought up the problem of low expectations in the offseason thread a few months back, I was very disliked. More than usual. I'm just playing to the crowd here.
     
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  10. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This seems very familiar.
     
  11. kgilbert78

    kgilbert78 Member+

    Borussia Mönchengladbach
    United States
    Dec 28, 2006
    Cowlumbus, OH
    Club:
    Borussia Mönchengladbach
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    And look what happened to the Jackets this year....
     
  12. Crewture

    Crewture Member

    Columbus Crew
    Poland
    Jan 28, 2013
    Linesville, PA
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If anyone wants more on that. I think this may answer a question or two from Dennis Sanchez Crew Academy General Manager making a recent visit.

    https://soundcloud.com/crewture-fan...-manager-dennis-sanchez-discussing-pittsburgh

    It's sort of crap taking a part of their podcast and reposting but it's a hour and six minutes long. Perhaps not everyone has a hour and six minutes of free time like I do, lol.

    But, could give them a Columbus, Ohio listen or two. Pretty solid podcast.
     
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  13. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Also a valid point. I was referring to Crew teams from about 2001 to about 2004, but you probably knew that.
     
  14. kgilbert78

    kgilbert78 Member+

    Borussia Mönchengladbach
    United States
    Dec 28, 2006
    Cowlumbus, OH
    Club:
    Borussia Mönchengladbach
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We've had that more than once here, for sure....
     
  15. west ham sandwich

    Feb 26, 2007
    C-bus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It's really hard to put a specific number on it.

    I guess I'd like to see a top 4 finish in the conference and overall improved play/competitiveness. Obviously I'd like to see better than that even, but if it looks like the team is back on the upswing, that should be enough for him to keep his job.

    I think if he misses the playoff, he needs to go.

    If the team ends up in the 5-6 range in the conference it's harder to say.

    If it's a 4-6 finish in 2017, then I thing the team should have to take the next step in 2018 (meaning a top 2-3 finish and clearly showing they're a contender for MLS Cup).
     
  16. mmradio13

    mmradio13 Member+

    Apr 13, 2008
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The really great thing about having the same person as the Sporting Director and Head Coach is that as SD he can't say the HC didn't use the squad correctly and as HC he can't say the SD didn't give him the players he needed.

    As for how he is judged for either position, both are entirely based on performance on the field, which is also a relief. If the team isn't doing well, Gregg is to blame.

    Expectations haven't changed for 2017. We need to make the playoffs. We should be competing for the Open Cup. Seeing some youth development would be nice, as would improving the stock around some of our high-performing players (an All-Star appearance for Meram/Kamara/Higuain/Afful/whoever). But in the end, making the playoffs is the expectation.
     
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  17. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Full-season tick...errr...members get USOC tickets up to whatever round as part of their pac...errr...membership.

    It makes me wonder if they'll actually try this year.
     
  18. kgilbert78

    kgilbert78 Member+

    Borussia Mönchengladbach
    United States
    Dec 28, 2006
    Cowlumbus, OH
    Club:
    Borussia Mönchengladbach
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Maybe we do--but I'm not sure. How many "Special Games" are in the package? We already know that Special Game A will be the Eintracht Frankfurt exhibition.
     
  19. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
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  20. kgilbert78

    kgilbert78 Member+

    Borussia Mönchengladbach
    United States
    Dec 28, 2006
    Cowlumbus, OH
    Club:
    Borussia Mönchengladbach
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  21. SourCream&OnionUtd

    Nov 19, 1998
    I respect that there are different schools of thought on the SD/GM/blah-blah role, but your quote here has always been my position. In fact, I would only make two exceptions to it:

    1.) you have a foreign manager new to the league (i.e. Tata or Vieira), so having someone there to help him navigate the league's byzantine rules is a smart way to go.

    2.) occasionally, there are these bright sparks like a Curtis or Bez, so it might make sense to hand them the reins. SJ are now hoping to strike gold trying this route, but the jury's still out on the guy IMO, because from the comments he's made about his player signings thus far, it sounds more like he should be writing for a J. Peterman catalog instead of building a soccer team. But hey knock yourselves out, San Jose.

    To point 2, both Curtis and Bez came from league HQ, as did Rodriguez lending a helping hand to Pauno. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm just not convinced there are enough talented SD types around that would warrant bringing one in, I certainly wouldn't want one just to have one.
     
  22. hangthadj

    hangthadj Member+

    A.S. Roma
    Mar 27, 2001
    Beacon, NY
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    If the greatest thing about having the same person as Sporting Director and Head Coach is that there is only one person to blame, that really isn't the greatest selling point to me.

    Going back the past several years and looking at MLS Cup winners, only SKC seems to have that same setup with Vermes holding all the power. Obviously Lagerway is at Seattle and even canned Sigi mid-season last year. Looking at Portland's front office it looks like Gavin Wilkinson is a GM type (maybe Porter just doesn't have the fancy SD title on his business card). Los Angeles Galaxy has had Chris Klein in an oversight role for several years, and even has Jovan Kirovski as Technical Director (though I am unsure if he was in that role when LAG won titles).

    It's nice to have once person to blame. I'm just unsure that it's best in this situation. We know Precourt isn't a soccer guy. At this point there is only one voice in the room and that is Berhalter's. So Berhalter can lay out a vision for this year without any push-back.

    I'll put forth a scenario. Berhalter knows at this point that making the playoffs would be an improvement over last season. We can (and probably have ) construct a roster that will compete for the 5th or 6th spot and make the playoffs. We can do this with essentially the same core as the past two seasons with a few new faces sprinkled in at goalkeeper and in defense. Unfortunately, we aren't developing much new attacking talent. Higuain is another year older. Same with Finlay and Meram. And though we make the playoffs, another year of the prime of Dilly Duka's career goes by without a trophy. In the end, we made the playoffs, we improved on paper but realistically we are no closer to winning the Cup than in 2016.

    If we had another voice in the room, you have that opportunity for conflict. You can have the realistic and hard conversations whether to tear down and re-start. You can look at sacred cows like Higuain, Trapp, even Midfield Boss Tony Tchani and discuss whether or not they are part of the next MLS Cup winning side in Columbus. You have alternative visions. The conflict can push the club out of a comfort zone towards greater things. Instead we are heading into year four with the same voice. The ONLY voice that has been heard for four years. That can get stale real quick.

    I mentioned Curtis before and @SourCream&OnionUtd mentioned him in the above post. Thing is he's available. We can have a new voice and new ideas push the status quo. Berhalter's rolled the dice this season that tinkering with the defense and rolling out the same attack and philosophy will be enough to bring us back to the Cup. Anything less than that should be considered an opportunity to ask real and legit questions about the direction of the franchise and the Sporting Director going forward.

    Four years is a long time. To have the guarantee of a 5th without some drastic improvement this season seems crazy to me.
     
  23. SourCream&OnionUtd

    Nov 19, 1998
    Thing is, you could take the example of Curtis to illustrate what can happen with your notion of pushback. Dax all but insinuated that Curtis went to bat for him, and ultimately looks like he might even have been relieved of his duties for it. Last I saw, now they have Denis freaking Hamlett apparently assuming some of Curtis's responsibilities. I don't think there's any way anyone can look at what happened with Red Bull last month and not think it was ugly, and risky to boot. Time will tell, but I like that to Curtis's credit, he refused to be drawn on it.

    I get what you're saying though in that the model has generally been a blueprint for success, but most of the strugglers have it, too. In fact, apart from Vermes as you noted, I think Gregg's near total control is clearly the exception rather than the rule.

    To me, you highlighted in your original post what I see as our #1 issue right now: no Crew USL team. Other clubs are using theirs to go out and make multiple Martinez-type signings and get them some seasoning, while also having a place to stash draft picks or other teams' draft picks, and blood homegrowns. I sincerely hope we get something off the ground for '18 on that front because we're risking being left choking exhaust if we don't.
     
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  24. mmradio13

    mmradio13 Member+

    Apr 13, 2008
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It's not necessarily just about who to blame, it's about developing a working relationship between what the head coach wants as far as talent acquisition and with who the talent acquirer can provide him. There are plenty of managers who complain about the board or about the technical director or about whoever because they're not given the players they asked for. While Gregg is limited financially, he is free to add players who play the system he wants.
     
  25. west ham sandwich

    Feb 26, 2007
    C-bus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've said in the past that I think that Gregg is banking on a return to form from Pipa, at least in terms of offensive production.

    I'm starting to wonder, however, if this is being seen as more of a two year rebuild, starting from the back.

    Whether that is the case or not, i'll stick with what I said expectations should be earlier in the thread: The team needs to make the playoffs. If they're 4th or higher in the conference, then I'll probably be fairly happy with the progress. If they're 5 or 6, then it will go to the eye test; I need to at least see that they look like a team that is capable of contending. And if that's the case, Gregg should need to make the team a true contender in 2018.
     
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