It looks as though New York Red Bulls coach is on the Pia Sundhage plan and will return to Sweden after the season. In itself, not much of a surprise.
But, but but: Why now? The timing is strange — okay, bad — given that the New York Red Bulls are trying to qualify for the playoffs, win MLS Cup, and a variety of other things that won’t be helped by distractions.
Backe gave the interview to a Swedish newspaper after telling NYC-based media he wouldn’t comment. If you’re a Hans apologist — really a Hans apologist — you could maybe — maybe — make the argument that he didn’t think news would reach the U.S. That is, of course, ridiculous in this day and age, but not inconceivable that he would think that (or, at least, use it as an excuse).
But there’s a big issue, which is what the heck is going on in New York, and does the management care about this year? The Red Bulls have won just one of their last four and are still not assured of making the playoffs. But the focus seems to be on anything but the soccer being played at Red Bull Arena. If you were a player, how would you feel about getting a new GM and your coach leaving at the end of the year? Distractions much? It’s a squad filled with senior leadership, but they are really going to have to step up to keep the club together.