Update on Jason Kreis’ future at New York City FC

6 Comments

With reports circling regarding Jason Kreis being fired as New York City FC’s head coach after just one season in charge and rookie boss Patrick Vieria replacing him, many in Major League Soccer find it hard to believe.

[ MORE: Ramsey out for Arsenal ]

Sure, Kreis and his coaching staff haven’t enjoyed a stellar season with expansion franchise NYCFC finishing out of the playoffs in year one, but with Frank Lampard, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo now having plenty of MLS experience under their belt (which is a whole different world to their time spent playing in Europe over the past two decades), plus the latter two only arriving midway through the season, you have to think better times will arrive in the near future.

A source close to the situation has confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that reports regarding Kreis being fired by NYCFC have come as a total surprise to individuals at the organization but admitted that after a disappointing debut season in MLS, there is plenty to be discussed at the end of the season.

It is believed that Kreis will sit down with NYCFC’s leading officials, such as sporting director Claudio Reyna, club president Tom Glick and chief executive Ferran Sorriano, in the coming weeks after the MLS season is over. The point of that meeting will be a post-season briefing to assess which things went well, which things didn’t, and to plan for the offseason and the 2016 season. Only then will it become clear if Kreis’ time at NYCFC is up.

[ MORE: Man City beat Sevilla in UCL action ]

For what it’s worth, the City Football Group (CFG), who own NYCFC, implement a similar end of season review at sister club Manchester City after every season which always leads to speculation regarding the hiring or a new manager of firing of the current man in charge. With Vieria currently in charge of Man City’s reserve team, the former Arsenal and French international midfielder has been touted to take plenty of head coaching jobs in the Premier League in the past and it is no secret that he has ambitions to become a head coach somewhere, soon. Linking Vieria with a position at City is not far fetched as CFG would seem to be promoting from within.

New York City FC’s debut season in MLS will come to a close on Sunday as they host the New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium during MLS “Decision Day” with Kreis’ side set to finish in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. You can point to many things for NYCFC not living up to the preseason hype but in truth, it is always tough for an expansion franchise in MLS. The likes of Vancouver, Montreal, Portland and up until recently, Toronto, have all struggled to find their feet and compete with MLS originals from day one. And let’s not forget, NYCFC had to build an entire club from scratch and Kreis was a key cog in making all of that possible. He deserves more time to turn this team into one which challenges for a place in the playoffs and for trophies.

Lessons will have to be learned if things are going to improve but is firing Kreis, the man who built Real Salt Lake into an MLS powerhouse after putting in years of hard work behind-the-scenes, really the right answer?

If you fancy reading more about Kreis’ mission as NYCFC boss, here’s our extensive Q&A with him from before the season and a longform piece on NYCFC’s preparations as they had high hopes when entering into MLS. Here’s what Kreis said before the season when speaking about the owner of CFG, Sheikh Mansour, showing patience with his head coaches in the past.

“I believe that if we do the right things and show that we have a plan, as we have already really started from a year ago, showing that we have a very set plan and that we are moving things forward in a positive direction. I believe the people here who are in the decision making positions are very soccer savvy,” Kreis said. “They understand that this is probably not going to happen overnight. I believe that we are going to be afforded the opportunity to get it right over a period of time. But the one thing I need to show is that we are moving in the right direction.”

Those hopes and dreams have not been realized but replacing Kreis with a man who has never played or coached in MLS and has never had a head coaching job does seem like a pretty drastic decision to make.

Serie A roundup: Napoli falls to Parma in debut for Gattuso (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Napoli’s last-minute loss to Parma in Gennaro Gattuso’s debut highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Napoli 1-2 Parma

Napoli remains in a dark place as Gennaro Gattuso debut with Gli Azzurri ended in a last-minute 2-1 loss to Parma.

The defeat marks eight consecutive games without a win in Serie A play for Napoli, who dismissed Carlo Ancelotti earlier this week despite punching a ticket in the last 16 of the Champions League after a win over Genk.

After their fifth loss of the season, Napoli are currently eighth on the table with 21 points, seven behind sixth-placed Atalanta and 17 behind league leaders Inter Milan.

 

 

In the third minute of stoppage time, Gervinho – experienced as anyone else in tightly-contested situations – received a simple pass from Dejan Kulusevski, carefully striking it into the back of the net inside the six-yard box. The 32-year-old Ivorian has five goals in Serie A this season, and Saturday’s was his most important yet. 

For Gattuso (and hopeful Napoli supporters), Saturday was the antithesis of dreamy start, but with time and a change of mentality the situation may change.

“I don’t believe in bad luck. Right now we’re not good mentally,” the 41-year-old manager said following the match. “The team is paying for the fact that it has not won (in the league) for 50 or more days.”

“The first 10 minutes also prove it,” he added. “It’s tough as are the whistles of the fans. There’s a lot of work to do.”

The home side recorded 33 shots throughout the night, but Parma proved to be more clinical, scoring at death and opening the scoresheet just four minutes in. In the 64th minute, Napoli were able to get one go their way, as Dreis Merten’s lofting cross with force was headed home by Arkadiusz Milik. 

Gattuso and his men will be tested once as they travel to Sassuolo in a weeks time, while Parma look to trim their four-point gap with Atalanta when they host Brescia.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Brescia 3-0 Lecce

Genoa 0-1 Sampdoria

Hertha’s under-16s stop playing after alleged racist abuse

Getty Images
Leave a comment

BERLIN (AP) Hertha Berlin’s under-16 team stopped playing a game at regional rival Auerbach after its players were allegedly subjected to racist abuse from their opponents on Saturday.

The Bundesliga club says in a statement on its website that “several players from our team were racially abused by their opposing players.”

Hertha officials informed the referee of the alleged abuse and decided to stop playing in the 68th minute while leading 2-0 “because we as Hertha BSC condemn racism and discrimination in every form,” the club said.

Hertha executive board member Paul Keuter called it “the only correct decision, not to continue with the game.”

On Twitter, the club said: “There are times when football doesn’t come first. Racism has no place in our society.”

Hertha under-23 player Jessic Ngankam said he was targeted with monkey chants and called an “ape” by an opposing player during his side’s fourth division game against Lokomotive Leipzig on Dec. 6.

“Insults are unfortunately an everyday occurrence in football, and I can put up with them. But racist abuse is a no-go,” the 19-year-old Ngankam told broadcaster MDR.

Both Hertha and Lokomotive condemned the alleged abuse.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Ciaran Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

La Liga roundup: Sociedad hold leaders Barcelona to draw (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A stunning draw from top-of-the-table Barcelona highlight La Liga’s Saturday action.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s La Liga coverage ]

Real Sociedad 2-2 Barcelona

If Real Madrid manages to walk away from Mestalla with three points, they’ll dethrone nemesis Barcelona and become clear-cut leaders of La Liga.

Just days before El Clasico itself, a rare 2-2 draw from Barcelona against hosts Real Sociedad is the reason behind Los Blancos’ prime opportunity.

 

Former Borussia Dortmund starlet Alexander Isak tapped in his fourth goal of the season in the 62nd minute, leveling the score for Sociedad and sending the home fans into a frenzy.

In true Barcelona fashion, Real Sociedad, ironically hit the ground running first. 

After earning a foul inside the box from a corner kick set piece, Reala captain Mikel Oyarzabal converted from the spot, putting Sociedad, who have exceeded expectations this season under first-year manager Imanol Alguacil, up against the defending champions. 

It wouldn’t take long before the visitors responded, however.

A familiar face and experienced goalscorer at Anoeta, it was the ideal scenario for Antoine Griezmann to shake off some pressure that has been a key talking point surrounding the Frenchman lately. Darting inside the box with only Alex Remiro to beat, No. 17 – like in the old days – carefully chipped the ball over Remiro and into the back of the net the ball wandered. 

If the second half indicated anything early on it was that it was going to be difficult for Barcelona to drop points on Saturday. Unselfish as ever before, Lionel Messi laid off the ball to an unmarked Luis Suarez, who his team up 2-1 four minutes into the second half.

A lack of control of possession and, most notably, an unstable defensive line, would end up costing Barcelona two points.

Next for Barcelona is the game of the season: a league bout against Real Madrid on Wednesday, while Real Sociedad travel to Becerril in the second round of Copa del Rey. 

Elsewhere in La Liga

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Osasuna

Granada 1-2 Levante

Atheltic Bilbao 0-0 Eibar

South Florida officials seeking more international soccer

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) More than two dozen political leaders in South Florida have written letters to the U.S. Soccer Federation’s board of directors, urging them to allow top-tier international matches to take place in the Miami region.

Relevent Sports, the soccer-promoting group owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, filed suit against the USSF earlier this year saying that the sport’s governing body in this country was helping to prevent them from hosting certain matches.

The letters were released Friday to media outlets, including The Associated Press.

The USSF did not respond to a request for comment.

Ross’ group and top Spanish league La Liga have been working for some time to bring a regular-season match to Hard Rock Stadium, the facility Ross owns and is the Dolphins’ home.

The politicians – ranging from city mayors, county mayors, county commissioners and one state Senator – all essentially said the same thing, that bringing major international soccer to South Florida only will help the region’s tourist-dependent economy.

“Doing so will demonstrate a genuine commitment to our communities and the growth of the game, which you, as the United States Soccer Federation, are charged with promoting,” wrote Dean Trantalis, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale. That’s the city where David Beckham’s new MLS team, Inter Miami, will begin play next March.