What is the best case for keeping Hudson as coach?

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by Knave, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    I’ve hemmed and hawed about asking this for a couple days but in the end I wanted to ask this before our playoff fate was decided.

    What is the best case for keeping Ray Hudson? (Play devil’s advocate if you must. I myself do that below.)

    Were I to make the case I think it’d be along these lines. In forming this argument I have tried to avoid simple excuses like there were too many injuries and callups so Ray shouldn’t be blamed if the team did poorly. Instead I’ve tried to suggest what Hudson has positively done with the team and present what I think is actually a fairly good defense of keeping Hudson as coach.

    First, I would concede that the team is not performing adequately. They’ve been very inconsistent and if they get into the playoffs it’s gonna be just by the skin of their teeth. Judging by this alone I’d say Hudson shouldn’t be brought back next year. However, one could argue that there are mitigating circumstances – which I would distinguish from excuses – that put these last two years into a perspective that argues strongly for retaining Hudson as coach. Hudson was brought in two years ago and since then he has been slowly (and at times rapidly) remaking this team. That process isn’t nearing completion now but it has made progress. He’s revamped the entire defense now – the weakest aspect of the team in the Rongen years - and it’s really performing extremely well today. That’s the foundation of any good team. The next step is to take care of the midfield and most especially the forwards. In short, there is a revamping process underway and it could be said that Hudson ought to be given the chance to complete the process he started.

    Without making excuses that’s probably the best argument I can come up with right now. I suspect there are better and more refined arguments out there though and I’d like to hear them.

    One more thing about this thread: I’d really like to avoid debating questions like “should Hudson stay on as coach” and I’d also like to avoid arguing about the case against Hudson. If you’re interested in those topics please start a new thread.

    I’m interested in hearing the best case for keeping Hudson as coach.
  2. Daniel le Rouge

    Daniel le Rouge New Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    under a bridge
    Let me preface this by saying that I've been in the tank for Ray all long. I thought he was the right choice at the right time for the right reasons.

    I am less convinced of that now. I made a point earlier that Ray's had two years, and has not really had a fair run at turning the team into a winner. However, if you haven't gotten a fair run in two years--for whatever reason--chances are you simply aren't ever going to get a fair run.

    Mitigating circumstances include horrific injuries, unanticipated callups (who woulda thunk Earnie would miss the first third of the season?), botched sales of players and less-than-stellar (or even consistent) performances by the players this team counts on the most.

    So one argument for keeping Ray around is the brutally obvious one--no one else is going to do any better. It's not the coach. At least, not completely.

    A second argument for keeping him is to allow him to complete the process he's started--as Knave mentioned, we're now a very sound defensive squad that is competitive in every single game. What needs to happen is development of the midfield and attack.

    The only thing that will permit that to occur is Etcheverry's retirement.

    I don't want to start off that firestorm again, but I'll simply point out this economic fact--you cannot have Edson Buddle-level production out of a player that costs you more than Preki-level dough. Hell, if it weren't for our amazing ability to draw penalties, we're talking about Chris Carrieri numbers--no smack on the kid, he's a decent enough player, but I don't see anybody clamouring to pay him half a mil a year.

    But I'd go so far as to say that if Etcheverry stays, there is literally no point in keeping Hudson--he won't be able to succeed at the one thing you're keeping him for--remolding the team.

    So really, despite the direction that Knave wants to take this thread, I think you have to make a decision on how you're going to re-build the team. Ray Hudson can be a very positive part of the equation, if he's permitted to do what he needs to do to remake the team. But there's no reason to expect success from a guy who's already had two years with his hands tied, if you're going to require him to do the job with his shoelaces tied together as well.
  3. toddinho

    toddinho New Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    Annapolis, MD
    If Hudson takes the team deep into the playoffs with what he has left as a team (lots of injuries to key players), he should stay. I also think Etch should retire and coach next year at DCU for the good of the team. Stoitch should take a hike. He's too much of a liability on the field and to the team. Hudson could build the team the way he wants it, just like the lineup that he used to beat the Metros in NY, 2-0. An attacking, team-oriented, athletic and fast lineup all over the field. That was the best game we had all year and it was on the road. Overall, we were very close this season, until we had all the injuries near the end. We can still make the playoffs, but DCU will be out in the 1st RD

  4. jason1551

    jason1551 Member+

    Apr 9, 2003
    Columbus, GA
    DC United
    You just cancelled out your own arguement. If the team goes out in the first round, then they haven't gone deep in the playoffs. It's an either or situation.

    Personally, I think that Hudson should stay as coach provided he can acquire some quality players (d-mid (Colosimo dang it!) and a-mid). Those are the only positions we lack in and the ones that our SI slot(s) should be used. If Hudson can do that, he has more than enough talent to go far. Oh, and he needs to add some depth to our roster. Guys like Alegria and Perea don't do enough. We need some bench players that can add to the game, not subtract.
  5. CHICO13

    CHICO13 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    SECTION 135
    The Strongest La Paz
    Nat'l Team:
    I think it's a moot point. It's not up to us or DCU to decide if Ray stays or goes. His health along with the pressure that a club like DC United adds up. The decision is his and his only. Personally after meeting Ray I can honestly say that he bleeds every win and loss. He went thru some real ups and downs and every emotion a coach can go thru. A spell where the team played well, some devastating injuries and some lackadaisical play.

    Whatever, I think Ray put his heart and soul into this team and put up a good front thru some really *#*#*#*#*#*# play.....
  6. McOwen

    McOwen Member

    Jun 13, 2000
    Retirement Community
    Nottingham Forest FC
    Amen Chico.

    We have one game tommorrow... Let's save this $hit for the offseason.
  7. Red&Black

    Red&Black Member+

    Aug 30, 2001
    Lot 8
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Burkina Faso
    i'd keep ray for the following reasons:

    1. the team is clearly better this year than last
    2. the team has gotten better over the course of the season
    3. the season went about like ray laid it out at the beginning--struggling to gel early, came together, played competitive football and put themselves in a position to make the playoffs.
  8. Sanguine

    Sanguine Member

    Jul 4, 2003
    Reston, VA
    and then fell apart when Olsen and Rimando went down. :(
  9. Atouk

    Atouk BigSoccer Supporter

    DC United
    Apr 16, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yeah, what's up Knave? You just started two perfect post-season threads (expansion-draft thread too) the day before our biggest game in a long time!
  10. Dave Brother

    Dave Brother New Member

    Jun 10, 2001
    I for one think if Hudson is not here next season based on non-health related issues, it would be a travesty. Speaking of Ray's health, he downplayed it is today's Times.

    I want the only thing on the team's mind- and Ray's- is kicking the crap out of KC today.
  11. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    I can't really give any complelling reason as to what is the best case for keeping Hudson as coach.. Red and Black made the best argument in that this team has improved from last season and in if not for some unfortunate key injuries (I know Benjamin wants this out of the debate but it really is a key reason to why this team has stumbled) we would have clinched a playoff spot some time ago and that in itself logically should keep Hudson around another season..

    A lot of fans feel this is not reason enough to keep a guy around who won't develop youth talent or won't make better use of late game substitutions.. Maybe so, but wouldn't it be nice to be in a situation where there were minimal injuries and minimal distractions so this team could go forth and produce? I know it's a pipe dream but we seem to have had our share of distractions before and during this season, moreso than most MLS teams..

    There are things going on behind the scenes that pretty much a lot of you are not privvy to that will decide the fate of Ray Hudson, playoffs or not..

    I will say this though, the merits of on-field production will have little bearing on Hudson's future with this team.. As some may know already, there is a clear problem going on at United with regards to Hudson and the front office and the way Hudson wants this ship to sail and that will be the deciding factor unfortunately..
  12. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    Actually, on this latter I wanted it up before we knew our playoff fate so people wouldn't resort to the obvious we're in the playoff/we're not in the playoffs line.
  13. Atouk

    Atouk BigSoccer Supporter

    DC United
    Apr 16, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Going instead for the even-if-we-make-the-playoffs-we-only-barely-did-which-is-not-good-enough vs. we-were-looking-good-before-the-latest-injuries debate! ;)

    For my two cents, if it's down to performance issues and the team that's being put together (and not behind-the-scenes issues, as Cweedchop says will decide it), I would definitely keep him. We're building a team of both style and substance.

    I think that's the pro-Hudson case: look at the roster -- it's looking pretty good to me, in that I think we have less positions that are "must improve" areas going into this offseason than most of the rest of MLS. Add to that the fact that, to me, this team appears to respond to and play hard for Hudson and I see reason to stay the course.
  14. John L

    John L Member+

    Sep 20, 2003
    Alexandria, VA
    Overall - I'd say "Yes - He should stay"

    Unfortunately, all the positive reasons are tied to Players, and not what the coach has done

    The team is better than last year - But thats due primarily to adding Kovalenko and healthy, fulltime Olsen and a healthier Etcheverry (!! - Yes - Thats right - Etcheverry's much better than last year and its definitely helped)

    The team got better during the season - Well, they were really terrible to begin with - And their improvement was due to improvement of key players - Convey (up until the botched transfer to UK, he was starting to be dominant force wherever he was), Q2 (but very sporadic)

    Obviously if Olsen (and yes, I'd have to include Q1) had stayed healthy and uninjured, DCU would have been the playoffs weeks ago and maybe would have gotten into the USSF Cup Final as well

    Ray's best case shouldn't come from how good his best players have done when healthy and how its expected to not do as well when they're injured - But how well he's done with lesser talent and younger players - Unfortunately thats his big weakness

    Its very apparent (well - to me anyways) that MLS coached need to be good teaching coaches especially with their younger players - And THAT (not Offensive Miami vs Defensive DC) is the biggest mark against Ray

    If in Rays' 2nd year DCU makes the playoffs (after years of being out of it) its really hard to justify firing Ray - But you need to bring in two other coaching factors - Strength Coaching to avoid so many debilitating injuries - And an assistant specifically for the younger players - Mayber thats the best reason to keep Stoichkov as well
  15. Wizardscharter

    Wizardscharter New Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    Blue Springs, MO
    For whatever it's worth there is no shortage of guys still calling for Bobby Gansler's head. The groundsweel happened after last season's indifferent record and peaked during the 9-game winless skid recently. It hasn't died down very much even in the wake of the 4 game win streak.

    The arguement's are very similar in that the base team has shown improvement over '02 (marginal but measureable at least), the team has come short of the overall goal, and injuries have been at least a contributor to the shortfall of performance to expectation.

    Would anyone on this board take BG over Hudson? I don't know that many would take Hudson over BG on our board.

    If Hudson goes, what is the short list? I ask because nobody has any reasonable replacements for BG. Bliss, Dir, and Mo Johnston are the mentionables at the moment.
  16. Marco10

    Marco10 Member+

    Sep 9, 2002
    I think Hudson should absolutely stay as the coach for the same reasons as Red and Black, but also because I think the players support him as well. He also seems to have the ability to rise above every hideous twist of fate that has been thrown at us this year, too. I also don't buy this doesn't develop young players, has poor substituions/tactics stuff either.

    So, in addition to Rob's ideas about the team being better and better over time, and his plan clearly unfolding pretty much the way expected (except for brutal injuries and wild circumstances like a 0-5 OT record, and Stewart being called up, Convey's tragedy, Marco's drama, etc.). I'd offer up the following support as well.

    In my opinion, the players are behind Ray 100 % make the playoffs or not. They agree (for the most part) with his vision for the team and his unfolding plan for rebuilding as far as I can tell. There's only minor dissention and some frustration mainly due to tragic circumstances. So, as long as the players want him, he should stay (not that they get the final say, but they are a huge part of making the decision).

    As for young players, he's developed Nelsen, Namoff, Curtis, Convey, Quintanilla, Chino, etc. into fine MLS players, if not outright stars. He's developed Dema into a decent D-mid and Namoff into a defender even. That Esky, Barclay, Stokes, Carroll, etc. haven't done much yet is immaterial. That Quaranta is in a funk has nothing to do with Ray. Anyway, they may well shine next year and this whole year will have been beneficial to them after all.

    Neither his substituions, nor his tactics are that whacky either. In general, he puts the best available in the best spots to expect them to win. That they haven't performed can't all be contributed to him.
    As a matter of fact, I think he has done a remarkable job with lesser talent at times this year. I mean, he was winning road games with Curtis as the main scoring threat, for example.

    For that matter, he's even shown the ability to tweak his plans nicely, when huge parts of the puzzle didn't work out like expected. He's made good moves to bring in more complimentary talent (Cerritos, Martins), without resorting to panicky impulsive decisions when Stewart, Esky, and Quaranta didn't pan out as good as expected. He moved players well when Nelsen didn't pan out as D-mid. He dealt with Marco's and Convey's dramas well. too. He's been able to deal with Ivanov's under-performance well. Really, he's had an answer for every wicked little turn of fate. That sounds like a good coach to me.

    We saw what he and the team could do with their (almost) full complement of players with decisive wins over SJ, LA, and NJ late in the season. But then injuries and bad luck struck yet again.

    He's collected a very good corp group of young, but reasonably experienced talent to build on for the next few years at least.

    He's shown vision, flexibility, and utter brilliance at times dealing with ridiculously bad luck. He's seems to be a very positive influence on the players, and is well liked. He's clearly passionately behind the team. I'd give him the time to continue with his plans.
  17. Dave Brother

    Dave Brother New Member

    Jun 10, 2001
    No to the first part. IMHO Ray has done a good job to turn this team around.

    Short list? If I had to make one, I'd have John Trask at the top of it.

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