The worst team in Major League Soccer has made a coaching change.
Sitting bottom of the Western Conference with just 20 points through 28 matches, the San Jose Earthquakes parted ways with Mikael Stahre, who was just hired last November. Assistant coach Steve Ralston will serve as interim manager until the team makes a decision on who to hire permanently. Fellow assistant coach Alex de Crook was also relieved of his duties.
“I would like to thank Mikael and Alex for their hard work and professionalism this season,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli in an official release on the team website. “Mikael has qualities, both as a person and a coach, that will be missed by players, staff and the front office alike.”
With just six matches remaining in the MLS regular season, the Earthquakes own the worst record in the league by four points and sit a whopping 24 points back of the final playoff spot. They went nearly a full three months between wins, defeating Minnesota United on May 12 and failing to earn another victory until inexplicably beating 2nd place FC Dallas on the road on August 4.
“We felt we needed a change and decided that the six remaining games represent an opportunity for all of us to begin heading in a new direction and to evaluate our options actively with a single goal in mind: to strengthen our First Team for the upcoming season and beyond,” Fioranelli said.
The news comes on the heels of a 5-1 demolition at home at the hands of Sporting KC over the weekend. San Jose was down 3-0 at halftime, and put just five of its 17 shots on target.
The 43-year-old Swede becomes the third Quakes head coach fired in the last 15 months, following Chris Leitch and Dominic Kinnear, the latter of whom was fired last June 25. New interim boss Steve Ralston now finds himself with his first career head coaching job, although he is no stranger to MLS. The 44-year-old made 378 career MLS appearances before retiring in 2010, and at the time of his departure held the MLS records for assists, appearances, starts, and minutes played, although most of those have been since surpassed.