I believe club presidents and owners when they say, in whatever various form it takes, “My coach ain’t going anywhere. He is my guy.”
I generally believe they are earnest in those sentiments – although I do personally know of exceptions, when an owner or GM was publicly spewing frothy support while already in double top-secret negotiations with a successor. Still, laying all my valuable journalistic cynicism aside, I do generally believe the deciders when they insist that axes are not being sharpened and that severance packages are not being assembled for managers who are obviously struggling.
BUT … I also know things change. Weight, being what it is, tends to increase exponentially. So not only do things change, they tend to shift in a hurry.
So we turn to the Chicago Fire, where things are just plain awful.
Fire president of soccer operations Javier Leon told MLSSoccer that he still has tremendous faith in Frank Klopas and continues to value the manager’s deep attachments with Chicago’s 15-year-old Major League Soccer club.
I strongly believe in having a coach — and I think the ownership feels that way too — that has so much invested in the city. Believe me, nobody feels worse than Frank in terms of the results thus far. He has so much invested in the city, and he has so much invested in the team, being part of the team, having the history that he had. From that standpoint, clearly he’s focused on making the right adjustments in order to get us on the right path.”
We’re getting a lot of this these days in MLS. Mike Petke was selected for New York because, at the risk of oversimplification, Petke is New York soccer.
Still, deep connections only get you so far. Klopas cannot possibly survive much more of what we’ve seen around Toyota Park.
Chicago, idle in league play, meets Minnesota in a weekend friendly. Next up for official competition is an April 4 meeting with New York. If Klopas’ and Co. cannot get all three points in that one, his team will be winless in three matches at Toyota Park to begin the year – a season where most pundits picked the Fire to make the playoffs and perhaps to make some noise once there. (I raise a humble hand here.)
It’s difficult to see a change not forthcoming if such a thing comes to pass.