FC Cincinnati announced on Tuesday that it has fired head coach Alan Koch after a brutal start to its first season in Major League Soccer, with just two wins in its first 11 matches, leaving them 11th in the Eastern Conference.
Not only did the team make the change after poor results on the field, but the club took it a step further, citing locker room issues that led to the dismissal.
“After a series of recent issues and a team culture that had deteriorated, we determined that it’s time to make a change to return a club-centered focus to the team,” FC Cincinnati president and general manager Jeff Berding said in the official team release announcing the news.
FC Cincinnati actually started its inaugural MLS season positively, winning two and drawing one over its first four matches. Since, however, the club has fallen on tough times, losing six of its last seven and collecting just a single point in that span. They have lost five matches in a row, all without scoring a single goal. Berding took aim at Koch for the team’s failures to this point, blaming him for failing to utilize the roster effectively.
“This decision is not driven by recent game results themselves, but rather the underpinnings that have led to those results,” Berding said. “We have not come close to maximizing the talent we have in the dressing room this year, nor have we seen a foundation being built that will set us up for success this year and into next year. Our whole locker room is committed to our club goal of earning an MLS postseason bid, and we need to put them in the best position to do so.”
According to MLS reporter Franco Panzio, a number of players said they were being played at unnatural positions and insinuated there was growing discontent over the tactics on the field.
Koch started as FC Cincinnati boss in early 2017, helping see the club to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup in his first season in charge, topping both the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew in that run. He won USL Coach of the Year in 2018 and stayed on with the club after the club earned MLS expansion.
The club release confirmed that assistant coach Yoann Damet will take over on an interim basis.