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A Case for Soehn

As we await D.C. United's decision about its coach, something to consider: Tom Soehn's success when given a full week to prepare for a match this season. Because United played more games than any other club during Soehn's three-year reign (MLS, Champions' Cup, Champions League, U.S. Open Cup, SuperLiga), the window for preparation was significantly reduced. I have not been able to fully examine all the numbers, but according to Soehn supporters:

United had a full week to prepare for a game only 14 times this year; the rest of the league averaged 23. In those games, United had a 8-3-3 record. Colorado, for instance, apparently had a week of practice 26 times and went 10-9-7. Chivas 19 (11-4-4), Columbus 23 (12-3-8), Houston 20 (7-6-7) and Chicago 21 (6-4-11).

By virtue of this disappointing year, United won't have such a grueling calendar next season -- just league play and the U.S. Open Cup.

Obviously, many factors will go into United's decision whether to retain Soehn. This is just one of them, but noteworthy nonetheless.

On another front, I asked DCU President Kevin Payne last week how fan feedback would impact the decision-making process:

"The fans have every right to ask questions, and that is certainly something that we take into account. But if the ball rolls the other way and goes in [during injury time of the regular season finale at Kansas City] and we miraculously make the playoffs and have a run like New York had last year, fans' attitude probably change. Our evaluation probably doesn't. ... I respect the fact that fans have opinions. We don't hear from all the fans. We hear from a small number of the fans. The fans' job is to be really emotional about this; that's why they are great fans but that doesn't necessarily mean that is the best way to make a decision. We can't be emotional. We have to try to be rational about it."

I know Insider loyalists have strong feelings about this subject -- many of you hope the club makes a change, others think Soehn should return. For this poll, I don't want to know what you want to happen; I want to know what you think will happen:

By Steve Goff  |  November 2, 2009; 3:54 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , Poll  
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Next: Tuesday Kickaround


They will absolutely be looking. That doesn't mean he won't be back though.

Posted by: paj18 | November 2, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

But if the ball rolls the other way and goes in [during injury time of the regular season finale at Kansas City] and we miraculously make the playoffs and have a run like New York had last year, fans' attitude probably change.

If a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his a&s

Posted by: OWNTF | November 2, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"But if the ball rolls the other way and goes in [during injury time of the regular season finale at Kansas City] and we miraculously make the playoffs and have a run like New York had last year, fans' attitude probably change."

Once again, Kevin greatly underestimates the point of view of the fans. He really has no clue what people think. Many of us don't care about stylish football over wins and many of us won't be hoodwinked by some fortuitous bounces in MLS' luck-heavy post-season.

I also find it funny that he says fans would change their mind if we had a run like New York. I guess he conveniently forgot what happened to NY after they stuck with their coach because of that late-season run.

If he's OK with making the Cup final on some fortunate results and suffering through a horrific season because that fact blinded everyone the following season, he really needs to just step down and let someone with some perspective take over the reins.

Posted by: beach3 | November 2, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Heh. What will they *do*, or what would we wish them to do?

I'm sure they'll offer him another contract. KP finds it almost impossible to pull the trigger on people. Whether it's because he has intense loyalties, because he's a great humanitarian, or because he can't admit he's made a mistake unless you hold a gun to his head, he usually hangs on to staff and players long after the smart thing to do would have been to wish them well and find someone who can do the job better under the prevailing conditions.

Soehn does OK when he has a whole week to prepare? That's great, but I think we need a coach who meets a slightly higher standard. That is, unless we plan on being underachievers for the foreseeable future. Reminds me of the old Sports Night exchange about a soon-to-be-fired NFL place kicker:

"He's a good guy"
"Yeah, but he can't kick."
"He'll get picked up by another team."
"No, he won't. Because he can't kick."
"He kicks great in practice!"
"At this level, they pretty much want you to be able to kick in a game."

Oh, and that line?

"The fans' job is to be really emotional about this; that's why they are great fans but that doesn't necessarily mean that is the best way to make a decision."

That's kind of hard to take from someone who has been fined as often as KP has for intemperate and ill-judged remarks.

Posted by: janspoor | November 2, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

By the way, if a ball rolls the other way, and the visitors don't get home-towned by the refs, this team could have lost to the Ocean City Banshees or whatever the college kids from the beach were called.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 2, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I think they will seriously consider retaining him, but in the end I think they will make a change.

What we really need is PLAYERS.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 2, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, maybe Payne is whack too.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 2, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

We all know what I WANT, but that's not the point here, and since Payne has gone all wishy-washy (at least that's what I'm gleaming from his talk) I think they are considering keeping Soehn. I think it would be a monumentally dumb thing to do on so many levels, but hey this is not about me right now. I don't live in DC so I am not feeling the vibe from the source, I only have what Goff gives me, and from me it feels like Payne is riding the fence. So I voted keep Soehn (now I need to go see my doctore as I am sure something inside of me has died for voting thus).

I get the arguments to keep him - number of games, uninspired vets, the weather...whatever. But we have to look at the whole here. 3 years of a downward spiral. I mean I don't even recognize this club anymore. As for the games and prep time let me get this straight - so if we give Soehn another year and he succeeds (taking us back to CONCACAF soccer) do we then fire him for being successful in anticipation of the re-run of the past 3 years?

I am ticked, but will also be patient. So for me, I'll just keep enjoyin' me football (translation - watching other teams play in the MLS playoffs and the Euro leagues). I will watch and wait and give them enought time before I go coming off as an unrational, emotional fan.

Posted by: Kosh2 | November 2, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before -- they won't make a change just to make a change...although, I think the players attitudes might be improved with a change. They need players, but they also need a coach that players respect. I don't think the players still respect Tommy, but I might be reading too much into a few comments I heard which might not have even been about Soehn. Still, I think that United won't let Tommy go until and unless they have a pretty good idea who will replace him.

Posted by: fischy | November 2, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

It looks like Soehn is staying. The PR train must be fueling all of this justification for keeping Soehn train is rolling.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | November 2, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I voted for a new contract because of the lack of any standout coaches available that would take the job.

I think they will end up giving him a one year contract, with a club option for a 2nd year.

I've said all along, I'd be curious to see how he does now with a younger roster and less fixtures.

Posted by: torrey151 | November 2, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

IF Tommy gets another year I hope he lives up to his promise of making big changes like

Getting rid of
olsen (bring him as an assistant)

and scout like his life depended on it.

Posted by: Norteno4life | November 2, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I would have to agree with fischy on this. If they don't have a good idea about a replacement, I think they will stay with Soehn. He had some veteran players who couldn't go a full 90 minutes and the lack of good attacking options. The one chief complaint that I voiced during the season was his insistance on playing a 3-5-2 when it was apparent that he didn't have a left back suited for this formation (Burch) or wing midfielders who tracked back to help out on defense. There is a nucleus of solid players (but not as deep as in seasons past) but the oldsters need to be let go (Moreno, Olson, Gomez, Emilio) as they just can't get the job done.

Posted by: agoldhammer | November 2, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The decision has already been made. Soehn is gone, not becasue they dislike him but rather because he has had three years and has nothing much to show for it. Just like investing. You put your money on the line figuring something good will happen. When after a reasonable time, it doesn't happen, you try a different strategy.
Good players want to go where they think they will have a chance to play good soccer. A coaching change is the best way to announce that possibility.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | November 2, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Payne's reading of the current mindset of the internet nuts comes from BigSoccer. I don't go there, so I have no idea what the popular opinion is. What I do know is that here and in the stands, a fortunate run in the playoffs wasn't going to trick many people. I think many people would have expected Soehn to stay aboard if Wallace had scored and we got to the final, but I doubt they would have been very happy about it. We're not a dumb group. We've all seen what happened to Sampson's Galaxy and Osorio's Red Bulls after miracle Cup runs. You can paper over the cracks for a playoff run if you have luck. You can't do the same thing over a 30 game season.

I think fischy has things right. The team isn't going to make a move either way with Soehn until a replacement is lined up. Let's not forget the embarrassment that followed Roger's abrupt departure from camp after the club went public about wanting to sign him. I highly doubt Payne wants to turn the coach search into a public courtship. What if the only qualified candidates want to play a grind-it-out style? Payne's on record as being against that approach, so you'd think he wouldn't hire a guy that plays that way and tell him to change, right?

I think a change will be made. I also think it's not going to happen overnight. Kasper may have to oversee the expansion draft on his own. While I understand that people want something right now to hope for, I'm personally glad that it'll take awhile. I don't mind one bit that a new coach won't have a hand in the expansion draft, because it's not like we have hard decisions to make between the guys at the end of the list. There are 7 obvious players that anyone we hire would protect: Namoff, Jakovic, Simms, Olsen, Quaranta, Pontius, and Moreno (Wallace is exempt due to GA status). There are no other players we could potentially lose that would cause me to lose much sleep. Honestly, would you be worried about 2010 if, say, Burch is playing in Philly? Or Jacobson? I would only be moderately surprised if Nowak leaves us untouched.

With that being the case, there's no reason to rush this decision. I think, in the short term, Kasper should be looking at potential new signings and maybe within the league for possible trades. There are plenty of teams ready to make moves; maybe we can get a good player from a bad team? Upgrading our roster should be an equivalent concern in the next month, rather than making a knee-jerk move to cool everyone's jets.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | November 2, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I would hope that they're looking for a suitable replacement, but if they don't find the right guy, holding on to Soehn would be better than picking up a different sub-par coach.

Perhaps they're waiting to see what happens with Williams, Preki, and others to see what their options are.

As for players, I think that depends a lot on changes to the pay-structure. Olsen, Moreno, and the others still have a lot to offer as long as they're not blocking (via salary) other new dynamic players from coming on board.

In both cases, the key is to upgrade, not just purge.

Posted by: -rke- | November 2, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

So.... Tom Soehn's problem is that our schedule has been too loaded and he hasn't had enough time to prepare for games and next year we won't have that problem so we should keep him. Question: what happens two years from now when we (presumably) have more games again and less time to prepare and Tom Soehn is still our coach?

That's some interesting grasping-at-straws logic Tom Soehn's supporters are tossing out there.

Posted by: QuietSide | November 2, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Get a grip, people. If KP is trying to spin Goff like this, Soehn is staying. It has become increasingly apparent from management comments over the past week that there is agreement between Soehn and KP/WC about what the nature of the problem is and what they want to do to try to fix it. Again, no value judgment: I was expecting Soehn to be gone and would have had no objection. But what I thought last post was better than even money Soehn stays, up from 1 chance in 3 a week before, is now about 4:1 in his favor. If he stays, I can only say I hope it works.

Chest, I love you, man, but this is not about the soccer; it's about how managements think. KP being out there saying this, he's not looking for anybody else for a coach.

Posted by: dccal | November 2, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Its basic futbol tatics, what line up to play and what formation.

He is here to do a job and he didint do it right for three years. I wouldnt even contemplate keeping him.


Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | November 2, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I voted that United would offer Soehn a new contract...but if Chang & Payne wait a month or so, maybe Rafa Benitez will be available!

Posted by: BaltoFan | November 2, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I think Chest has it 100% right, as usual.

I would have been very disappointed had we made the post season and Soehn was retained next year. I have many underlying issues with his coaching and I would want a change either way.

Posted by: strago | November 2, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm assuming these stats are for MLS league games, only, since it has the other teams listed as well.

What's United's record over the past 3 years on full rest? In tournament games? In Playoff games?

I'd like to see those numbers, too. Pretty convenient you can't find previous seasons WLD numbers on DC United's website any longer.



Posted by: jayrockers | November 2, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

When he had a full week to prepare they did well...

But mostly they didn't have a full week. He signed on for the gig, he needs to find a way to be successful at it, or part of it...not be mediocre in all of them

Posted by: teo_68 | November 2, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Man, this guy needs a new PR director. If someone asks if the fans matter, you say YES regardless of whether you think they do or not. Don't waffle and give some backhanded BS compliment about passion when you are essentially saying that your fans are stupid but can yell loud. What a putz.

If there's a viable replacement for Soehn why would you keep him? Question is, does anyone want the job?

Posted by: hacksaw | November 2, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Since the poll asks what DCU would do, not what I would do, I answered "keep Soehn." The statements out of KP about bad bounces and Kasper is the "best in the league" mean that a front office decision has been made to keep both Soehn and Kasper. I think that is a bad decision, but I'm an "internet nut" so I know my place in KP's hierarchy.

What I do think is that Soehn will be on a short leash next year. No fixture congestion, a (hopefully) younger roster. If Soehn's teams continue to play like they just met in the parking lot before the game, he'll be gone by June.

Posted by: griffin1108 | November 2, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

There keeping soehn...if they werent they would have fired him already. Its obvious that payne, kasper, and soehn have a very good relationship.

Posted by: totalfootballer | November 2, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I am not comfortable with soehns style of attack for our team, we need someone new that is more attack oriented.

In other countries their fans would have roasted Tommy worst than any DC fan has so far.... hes lucky...

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | November 2, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

If Soehn gets a new contract then it is obvious that DCU is taking a page from Wall Street by rewarding a leader who has accomplished nothing. If you look at things from a logical perspective you will understand that you earn a new contract or bonus because of past success. I do not see that with Soehn. He did one thing right and that is win a US Open Cup against lesser competition. It is inexcusable to not make the playoffs three years in a row and reward the coach with a new contract and as for the pro-Soehn crowd they are just full of lame excuses.

Posted by: no_recess | November 2, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that the fact that Payne is making sounds about the arguments for keeping Soehn, and about how the fans are just emotional, means that any decision has been made to keep Soehn. Sometimes, you give the nice words to one side and the decision to the other. And if you are going to let Soehn go, you want to reassure him -- and his potential successors -- that the team does not just give in to howling fans.

On the other hand, I agree with those who find insulting Payne's description of fans "The fans' job is to be really emotional about this." Very disappointing on his part, and not at all consistent with the team's consistent respectful relationship with its fan base. I see lots of dispassionate discussion of coaching failures in the comment section of this blog and on other discussion lists about the team

Posted by: DCUSince96 | November 2, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Who cares who played more games? A decent amount of those games were before the season started in the CONCACAF Cups. They shouldn't have had much of an impact on the regular season. In all the competions that DC have been in the under Soehn the only one that they've regularly excelled at is the Open Cup.

I imagine Soehn will be back, and I'll have one more reason to not watch the MLS.

Posted by: bighungry | November 2, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I can't belive we are having this debate. Were we not in the EXACT same position last year and had the EXACT SAME debate, only to end up in the SAME place again? Please watch the Chivas game again and tell me we dont need a new coach. The players have hinted that they dont have confidence in Sohen, and their uninspired play is certainly obvious evidence to back that up. What makes everyone think that if we just replace all of the players then the new ones will somehow be motivated in a way that the older ones were not? Maybe the problem is with the coach and not the players. At the very least it is a lot easier to replace the coach than to overhaul the entire roster.

Also, lets say we somehow magically turn things around under a retained Sohen next year and qualify for the CCL? Do we fire Sohen in next year's offseason because of the impending fixture congestion? These arguments make little sense, and go against all of the evidence the team has provided during the course of the season.

Sohen needs to go at the very least. I am not sure about Kasper.

Posted by: rademaar | November 2, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, I respect Soehn and thank him for his time but we havent improved under him, if anything we have gotten weaker. We can blame the schedule or the players or the coach but I would feel better if someone else tried it next year.

Posted by: FatSickBoot | November 2, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, I really hope I don't have to give in to my Soehn comes back = me having to start to smoking crank prediction from last week.

And like most I also found KP's comments about the ball going to other way/NYRB/etc. to be interesting, to put it nicely.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | November 2, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow--some of the posters on here are really providing a great example to justify Payne's comments. Some of you not only want Soehn fired, you want him tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. That is not how our club does these things. Payne wants a resolution where when Soehn leaves, he feels like he got fair consideration, it's wasn't on a whim, that it isn't on some vague comment like "we just needed to go in a different direction".

Soehn isn't going to get rehired. And the primary reason is that this club has high standards. We spent a lot of money on foreign talent last year and did poorly. We had a veteran club, very deep, guys that I assume Soehn wanted (Emilio, Fred, Moreno, and the return of Gomez) and did poorly. Unless he's going to argue that he wanted none of the GKs, that they were all forced on him (which could be possible--maybe, maybe not), he's had a run of 3 seasons and not much to show for it other than a SS with Nowak's roster.

We gain nothing by rushing this decision. We gain nothing by appearing to be vindictive. We gain nothing by blasting Soehn publicly or if the team appears to have its' mind made up on this issue.

Posted by: JoeW1 | November 2, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Also must say, after reading other comments, Chest Rockwell was 110% on point with his statement.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | November 2, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I really don't want to see Soehn back here again. I just haven't seen any improvement under him. Lets not pull a redskins and keep giving an aging team one more shot. Its time to start over or at the least cut the fat.

Posted by: rightdm00 | November 2, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

For some time, I have had my doubts about Payne. It seemed to me that he knew very little about soccer and not much about managing a sizeable organization, much less a sports operation. Now that we have the benefit of Payne's conversation with Goff, I can put my doubts aside. The guy simply doesn't know what he is talking about. Arguing that one play would have changed perceptions of Soehn's performance is the sort of rubbish that you would expect to hear in a saloon after 10 pm, not from a general manager.

Moreover Payne has no public relations sense. As someone else pointed out, the savvy comment would be that the team takes the fans' opinions seriously, not that they are emotional. But, after all, Payne is the guy who more or less guaranteed Moreno a place on next year's roster -- even though Moreno is ancient and has yet to sign a contract. In addition, the team, allegedly, is considering its options for the coaching spot. Shouldn't the coach have some say about who's on the roster?

Posted by: Jphubba | November 2, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Payne's comments have made me 'emotional'. So now should we expect to hear that we have the best fans in the league, they just have low soccer IQs and ephemeral fancies?

Also, Soehn had his pass after the infusion of South American duds last year. There is too much evidence to suggest he is not up to the task, which have been covered to death on this site (love affair with burch, penchant for subbing players out with three minutes to go before half, 3-5-2!!!). Woops, there I go being emotional again. I guess its okay since it's my job, after all.

I think Soehn is still gone, but there are better ways for Payne to remain on the fence about Soehn's status without being a condescending bastardo.

Posted by: JaimeSegundo | November 2, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Wow--some of the posters on here are really providing a great example to justify Payne's comments. Some of you not only want Soehn fired, you want him tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. That is not how our club does these things. Payne wants a resolution where when Soehn leaves, he feels like he got fair consideration, it's wasn't on a whim, that it isn't on some vague comment like "we just needed to go in a different direction".
Posted by: JoeW1 | November 2, 2009 7:23 PM

I don't know if I agree with your conclusion, but the set up is good. Soehn may in fact stay. I am actually agnostic on the subject. okay--maybe slightly in the leave category, but you'd have to convince me that the person we were bringing in was a better fit, a hard thing to assess.

On a similar note, I'm amused that people seem not to want to count Soehn's first year as part of his record. Really? Because it was "Nowak's roster"? Doesn't that argument sort of reduce the position of coach to talent scout? And hasn't Soehn (and Kasper) been roundly criticized for not being good at that? Kind of makes the Supporter's Shield difficult to explain, doesn't it?

Posted by: vivzig | November 2, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Totally off this topic, but boy these two handegg teams on Monday night handegg sure play ball well. wow.

Also Off Topic, be sure to get your Argy Bargy Goff line ups set. More Champion's League tomorrow. Comcastsports net will be showing Real Madrid/AC Milan live and in HD tomorrow afternoon.
Get yer popcorn ready.

Posted by: DadRyan | November 2, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but if Soehn is not removed, then I am not renewing my season tickets. I've watched the team since 96 and had season tickets since 99, but if he stays on, I will not. Someone has to say it, so let it be me. Vamos United.

Posted by: zero0000 | November 2, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Not so sure how keeping a guy on death row for weeks can be considered anything close to civil or classy, but hey, whatever. If you're gonna can the guy, can 'em. It sends a message to the fans but most importantly to the team - a team (which if we are being honest, both fire and keep camps) that was not really playing for the coach any more. This is why I think dilly-dallying is most dangerous in this situtation. It's not like you see players knocking on Goff's door to make a statement to back their embattled coach.

If you are going to keep him, man up and keep him. Either way, make a call and get to work. It's not like Soehn is our only problem.

Call me knee-jerk, emotional or irrational, but for me this is a no brianer for pro-active, involved FO with decisive short and long-term goals and strategic plans in place to help to achieve said plans. This is, after all, a freakin' multi-million dollar business. So don't insult me by masking indicisiveness or being caught behind the 8 ball with a classy, calm and cool headed analytical study. Give me a break.

Posted by: Kosh2 | November 2, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

It's not just the coach..........!

But lets start with him and move down the line. Please make sure we don't look in the MLS recycling bin for a new coach!!!!!! A professional coach would be nice!

insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different result!

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | November 2, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

It seems that this front office is living in a fantasy world. Most of their comments come of as dumb. I don't think that Dave Kasper or Tommy Soehn deserve most blame for these last few seasons but Kevin Payne should take all the blame for hiring these guys. Maybe it might be time for Will Chang to hire a new team president.

Posted by: vamos_united12 | November 2, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree with Payne. What happened in the last 30 seconds of the last match of the season should not determine Soehn's fate.

What happened in the first 29 matches and 89 minutes and thirty seconds should.

They werent good enough.

Posted by: srfinger | November 2, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

It seems that this front office is living in a fantasy world. Most of their comments come of as dumb. I don't think that Dave Kasper or Tommy Soehn deserve most blame for these last few seasons but Kevin Payne should take all the blame for hiring these guys. Maybe it might be time for Will Chang to hire a new team president.

Speaking of blame, I can't recall another coach in any sport who has had such an on-going habit of trashing specific players in post-game interviews. It's no wonder some )if not all) of the players have been tuning him out.

Posted by: Stevenho | November 2, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Payne has recently, with his usual elegance and aplomb, tried to take some of the heat off Soehn. Words to the effect that he and Kasper put this roster together, and that he and Kasper dictated a brand of play that may have cost DCU standings points.

Fans are free to reject this defense, of course. But they shouldn't ignore the degree of truth in Payne's statements.

One thing Payne has not said is whether next year's coach, be it Soehn or someone else, will e subject to the same upper management style.

Personally I hope DCU at least looks in another direction. But I wouldn't be surprised if Tommy gets another shot.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | November 2, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

If Tommy stays, I'll have one less reason to move back to DC, and likely won't return for a United match til he's gone.

Posted by: alecw81 | November 2, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

This is all just like it was when Rongen and Hudson were booted. It took Payne a long time to get around to firing them too. I expect it'll be the same way this time. Though some of Payne's quotes really do make me wonder about his judgment.

Posted by: fret44 | November 3, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope Chang is the one making this decision and not KP. I have the feeling he is a pretty pragmatic guy in general. Didn't he say in his letter to us prior to this season that he was going to hold management accountable? Well, here's the accountability moment.

Firing all of the players is hard. Firing the guy who makes the ridiculous line up and sub choices is easy. It is time to move on. I don't care where the next guy comes from, just as long as he's a smart soccer person and talent evaluator.

Posted by: fedssocr | November 3, 2009 3:50 AM | Report abuse

In the MLS, quality teams and quality organizations stay in contention to win year after year: Houston, New England, and now Columbus jump to mind. In MLS, the coach/manager does make a difference: LA and Seattle could enter into that first grouping because of the coach/technical staff.

DCU used to be the epitome of both of the above groups: first-rate organizations with quality coaching. We aren't now. We are solidly stuck in the pack with KC, SJ, Dallas, and NY. We used to be a team no one wanted to play. We are now a team no one fears. We used to be electric. We are now pedestrian. We used to stand for something. I don't like what we stand for now. We are mired in the past rather than thinking boldly about the future. Here is the cold hard fact of sports: you are as good as your record. Under Soehn we have been mediocre. Soehn has to go, along with Kasper. We are just not good enough. We are not going to become a quality organization with quality coaching by "bringing in a veteran defender" or by getting Jaime, Ben, Gomez, Emilio, and Fred to take pay cuts. We need new direction to bring in new life to a stagnant club.

Posted by: rcdwriting | November 3, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Its basic futbol tatics, what line up to play and what formation.

He is here to do a job and he didint do it right for three years....

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | November 2, 2009 5:42 PM
We agree on the fact, but not the conclusion. Given what he has had the past three years to work with, I think he has done well. It may be just spin, but given the number of competitions, the number of matches, the number, age and fitness of the players... we can't throw away these factors and simply say, "we aren't in the playoffs, so fire the coach."

And yes, we will be a much better club (even with the present coach) with better defenders and by replacing Jaime, Ben, Emilio, Gomez and Fred.

Besides all that, Kevin Payne is preparing the fanbase to accept the fact that he might retain Soehn. He holds all the cards, really.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | November 3, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Start with Payne and clean house . . .

Posted by: LCR-54 | November 3, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

To quote a wise Barra elder, "If you are sailing into a storm, you don't blame the weather. You blame the Captain."

Posted by: AtlantaMLS | November 3, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

payne is so out of touch..

i have not been apart of the mob calling for Chang to ask Payne to go... but I think it is time for PAYNE TO GO! His above comments are not based in reality..

Had we made it into the playoffs... I would still want a new coach.

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | November 3, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope Chang is the one making this decision and not KP.
Posted by: fedssocr

That's like wanting Danny Snyder to make the decisions.

Chang makes the final call on firing/hiring, but when it comes to evaluating, let the guys that know the game do it.

But don't say that Payne is like Vinny Cerrato. That's just cruel :)

Posted by: Reignking | November 3, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

OTOH. Maybe Payne is softening the fall for Soehn by stating reasons why he's not to blame so that other teams (MLS, USL, NCAA) would give him a shot.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 3, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Another reminder not to sleep on your Argy Bargy Goff fantasy team. Real Madrid/AC Milan on Comcastsportsnet this afternoon.

Posted by: DadRyan | November 3, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

In the UEFA predictor, that AC/RM match is almost a pick'em.

Posted by: Reignking | November 3, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

This is a results business; This is D. C. United. This isn't some team that didn't make the play-offs and doesn't have its own stadium. Oh, wait a minute, it is.

Posted by: lgm6986 | November 3, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I think it's Richie time.

Posted by: EdTheRed | November 3, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

All professional coaches are judged on one thing--- WINNING! If you don't win enough, eventually you will lose your job. What about the players? We will probably never know their true thoughts, but it would be nice to see an anonymous poll of the players about this subject!!

Posted by: patrick18 | November 3, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

A case for Tommy - sure.

Remember - let's be somewhat sympathetic about all this. I'm all for a new direction. But there will be a family out of work and probably relocating to another part of the country. We can ask for Tommy to be axed - but there's only one coach I want axed and then burned at the stake (Al Groh) - the rest deserve to be thanked for their contribution and their efforts. They did what they could during their time. If they didn't get the results and the organization wants to change directions, then that's fair, but there's no reason to see him get further decimated beyond that.

Now - can Seattle put John Spencer's team out so we can call him?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | November 3, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

You know, I think about the duds that DCU signed last year -- Franco Niell? Gonzalo Peralta, who couldn't even make it in the Argentinean SECOND division!! -- I just can't ascribe all of the blame to the coach.

Posted by: Reignking | November 3, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

VBB: and Groh will have enough cash. Soehn? Not so much.

IMO coaching is an awful profession. You rarely stay in one location, the pay at the lower levels can be brutal, and just a few a year are deemed successful.

Posted by: Reignking | November 3, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse


No kidding - well except for the buy-out he had to do of his OWN SON in order to save his job last year.

But really - I can see the argument that Soehn faced a tougher road than many of his MLS counterparts. However, he knew that coming in. He knew that he had Champions Cup, MLS, Champions League, US Open Cup, Playoffs, SudAmericana, SuperLiga, etc.

Brutal for MLS rosters - but that's the name of the game. The only way he can maybe do better is if MLS offered roster help for teams involved in that many competitions, but that's not the case. And even if he had it, I'm still not sold on his evaluation of talent and the best XI to get a certain result. If anything, he was shaped as the antithesis to Mr. Nowak's constant late year burn-out from driving the crap out of players early in the year to get results early.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | November 3, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

This is a results business; Soehn and Kasper should be judged on the record of results and should be dispatched ASAP. No sympathy for what this does on a personal level; that is the nature of the sports business. Soehn and Kasper didn't consider that aspect when they dispatch players or staff members or others who don't produce "results." Don't feel to bad for Soehn; he'll end up with either Piotr or Bradley. He's their type of butt-boy.

Posted by: lgm6986 | November 3, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I predict that Soehn will step down on his own accord...and we will find out today.

Posted by: Reignking | November 3, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: footballfan9 | November 3, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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