Jason Kreis, the man hand-picked to manage New York City FC and lead the 2015 expansion side into its inaugural Major League Soccer campaign, has been fired after one season following “a review conducted at the end of a disappointing campaign,” NYCFC announced on Monday.
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Widely regarded one of the best American managers, Kreis left Real Salt Lake following the 2013 season and spent all of 2014 working alongside the technical staff at NYCFC’s sister club, Manchester City of the Premier League, to prepare for the 2015 season. NYCFC finished eighth in the Eastern Conference, 12 points adrift the sixth and final MLS Cup Playoffs place.
From the club statement:
Prior to the start of the season, it was agreed with the coaching team that securing of a playoff place was an appropriate target for this year. A win rate of less than one in three games and a points tally which was the second lowest in the league is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed.
While the challenges of building and integrating a new team are recognized, it was felt by the Board, following a comprehensive review, that there was not enough evidence of the dynamics required to improve the performance of the team for the next season and beyond.
Kreis also seemed to have been put in a tough position by his higher-ups at City Football Group. Despite a budget that seemed infinite in comparison to that of most other MLS clubs, it was widely reported that the summer signing of Andrea Pirlo — and perhaps that of Frank Lampard a year earlier — were signings forced upon the manager for off-the-field reasons. Neither Lampard nor Pirlo were particularly good in their first MLS season.