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D.C. United's Coaching Search

D.C. United has interviewed Curt Onalfo and Richie Williams for its head coaching position, the Insider has learned. The club has spoken to other candidates as well and apparently will seek meetings with additional individuals.

In the search to replace Tom Soehn, who withdrew from consideration to have his contract renewed, United met with Onalfo last week and Williams this week, I'm told.

League observers consider Williams the leading candidate, but he remains interim coach of the New York Red Bulls, who won't hire a coach until they appoint a sporting director. Meantime, Williams has the option of listening to other offers. In a twist, Onalfo is also a candidate for the New York sporting director position, various sources said.

A new name to emerge: Caleb Porter, who has guided the University of Akron to national prominence. Also, Chicago's Denis Hamlett, who is on the brink of leading the Fire to MLS Cup, is out of contract after this season and might become available.

DCU General Manager Dave Kasper said the club won't comment on rumors and speculation about coaching candidates.

Williams and Onalfo have much in common:

Age: Williams is 39, Onalfo turns 40 next week.
Upbringing: Both are from the New York area, 100 miles apart. (Williams is from northern New Jersey, Onalfo from southern Connecticut.)
College: Teammates at Virginia for three years (1988-90).
MLS: Both played in the 1996 inaugural season and faced each other at MLS Cup (Williams 90 minutes for DCU, Onalfo 13 for Los Angeles). Teammates at DCU in 1998-99.
National Team: Williams 20 caps between 1998-2002, Onalfo one cap in 1988.
D.C. Connections: Williams is among DCU's all-time leaders in games played, starts, minutes and assists. Onalfo was on the 1998-99 DCU rosters and later became an assistant coach. He was also involved in youth development in Northern Virginia.
Coaching: Both served as assistants to Bruce Arena (Williams with the Red Bulls, Onalfo with the U.S. national team).
Head Coaching Experience: Williams has had two stints as New York's interim boss, Onalfo guided the Kansas City Wizards for 2 1/2 years.
Language: Through his time playing in Mexico, where he met his wife, Onalfo became fluent in Spanish. Williams, married to a Costa Rican, has learned some Spanish.

If these two are the finalists, who would you choose?

By Steve Goff  |  November 12, 2009; 9:54 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS  
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Next: Gonzalez: MLS Rookie of Year

Comments

If these two end up as the finalists, DCU is in trouble.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

sorta off-topic, but how's Marco doing in Bolivia?

Posted by: nairbsod | November 12, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if I agree, Ron...Richie certainly took lemons and made something resembling lemonade the last half of the season in NY. Granted, it was crap-flavored lemonade, but then, they were crap-flavored lemons.

Posted by: HowdyDCU | November 12, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm okay with either of them.

Posted by: NattyBo1985 | November 12, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

is Preki already spoken for by Chicago? I don't understand why he is not a serious option too. I'd rather go with him.

Posted by: joe_hill | November 12, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Well in Ron 16. Don't feel strongly either way about Onalfo, but don't understand the love for Richie.

Posted by: jpeace121 | November 12, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Turn it around -- if DC and NY are the finalists in their book, who would they choose?

Sounds like they might make a good team working together in NY in a new stadium with major European backing.

"We win trophies" and all, but still . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | November 12, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Steven Goff for coach!!!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | November 12, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

A lot of people forget that Curt Onalfo turned around an under performing Eddie Johnston who then commanded a very large transfer fee for MLS. He got a team that had missed the playoffs two years in a row before his arrival into the playoffs two years in a row. KC tanked and missed the playoffs once he left this past season (they went 3-6-3 under Peter Vermes).

Posted by: williamdelaney1 | November 12, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that Onalfo and Williams were each dealing with similar situations at their respective clubs; sporting directors who handed them lemons and said, make something out of them (Osorio too, I suppose). As we have seen here and throughout the league, player selection is the big buggaboo for MLS. If you don't have an eye for talent, no amount of coaching excellence can save you. All things considered, I'd say Onalfo and Williams are both good coaches, (well respected as players coaches) and they did about as well as they could with what they were given. Each would do well here, though I think NY is going to try really hard to keep Richie.

The intriguing part of this equation is NY's interest in Onalfo as sporting director, a position they really want to get right, even more than the coaching position. Guess that mean Agoos may be moving on.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | November 12, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I would be fine with either one. There is no "killer" hire sitting out there. Preki would be fine as well, although I think that may be nostalgia for DCU's last real success under another short-tempered Eastern European. :-)

Posted by: griffin1108 | November 12, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Williams. After the last few seasons, I like the idea with a (reasonably) clean break with the past and bringing in a (relatively) fresh face.

Posted by: fengraf | November 12, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@HOWDYDCU:

True, but Richies few games as an interim coach just is not much of a track record.

If making lemonade out of lemons is the standard, then I would think it would be Preki, hands down. He took a dreadful Chivas team and made them into a contender, all while establishing a track record of being able to do all the other things MLS head coaches are supposed to do.

I find the possibility of Sasho Cirovski intriguing. I don't buy the conventional wisdom that says "he is happy at Maryland and would never leave". Bruce Arena was happy at UVA, and he left. I rather suspect Sasho is more than willing to coach at the next level if the situation/compensation is right. I highly doubt Sasho has no serious interest in coaching at the highest level he can. After all, if it doesn't work, he can coach at just about any university he wants. He might even be able to go back to Maryland.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Sasho isn't going anywhere. As he says, he is an obsessively hands-on guy who would want total power and control, and no mls team is going to give that to him.

Posted by: Steve Goff | December 19, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: OWNTF | November 12, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

pretty preki please

Posted by: beergorila | November 12, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@Ron16

Preki didn't inherit a dreadful Chivas team, he inheritted a team that Bob Bradley had already turned around the yer prior. Granted Preki was an assistant of his.

Posted by: Longgoneposter | November 12, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

... I mean preki pretty please.

Posted by: beergorila | November 12, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Sasho is the coach, GM, and scheduler for the Terps (note the # of home to away games they have each year). He loses two of those abilities when he joins a pro-team.

Hiring the Zips coach would be a serious step down. Regardless of their record this season, the Terps (and Cavs and Tar Heels and Deacons) could beat them 8 outta 10 games any season, any location.

Posted by: M__N | November 12, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

PLEASE hire Denis Hamlett.

This would make me [and many others] extremely happy.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

If I had to choose, I would go with Williams since crappy players make good coaches from time to time; look the caps Bodreau, he wasnt a great player :-)

Posted by: riceldi | November 12, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Between those two, I would choose Williams. I think he will get the most out of these players as well as solidifying the defense. If I had my druthers, I would interview Preki, Sacharan, and Hamlett. It doesn't hurt to get more ideas and more candidates.
If Williams is the coach, would he try to talk Olsen into joining his staff?

Posted by: jsm3 | November 12, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

@Ruthie1 you nailed it pretty well. It was interesting to see comments from Peter Vermes and KCW ownership at the press conference announcing he (PV) was staying on as coach. They said the roster needed a complete overhaul. Mmmm. Since PV was the TD the last 3 years, and procured the players, wouldn't that be somewhat of an inditment of his skills as an evaluator of talent? Curt did pretty darn well with what he was handed!

Posted by: williamdelaney1 | November 12, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Between those two, I would choose Williams. I think he will get the most out of these players as well as solidifying the defense. If I had my druthers, I would interview Preki, Sacharan, and Hamlett.

Posted by: jsm3 | November 12, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

-----------

I think that the top two candidates should be Sarachan and Hamlett.

Their coaching genius is PROVEN at the MLS level. They've both brought teams deep into the playoffs. With Hamlett, he's shown that he can handle players with big egos and big personalities. With Sarachan, he's been working with Bruce Arena, so you know he's gotten some excellent training as well.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Anyone except for HAMLETT!!!!!!

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | November 12, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Anyone except for HAMLETT!!!!!!

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | November 12, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse
-----------------------

Hamlett doesn't get the TRUE credit he deserves. If he can put up with Blanco, then he can easily handle ANY player.

I maintain that Hamlett and Sarachan should be the finalists. I don't want less-experienced coaches like Williams and Onalfo. A franchise like DCU needs a proven winner as a coach, not "local" guys with little-to-no success on their coaching resumes.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Tough call...

I think I would lean toward Onalfo

Posted by: Eric_in_Baltimore | November 12, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

If college coaches are going to be considered...has anyone considered Andrulis at Mason? He's a former MLS coach and has done well rebuilding the GMU program (12-6 this season).

No clue if he is interested...just a thought.

Posted by: cmjhawk86 | November 12, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I think people prefer Richie because they remember his fiestiness as a player and are hoping he brings that dimension to DCU who's players seem to often lack inspiration for long periods between games. The Bruce Arena seal of approval (which Onalfo also has) and the ability to make something out of the mess in New York also lend some credence. I'm okay with Onalfo too, but having a coach who will kick his players in the shins when they're playing like crap just seems to appeal to me more.

Posted by: LostinPotomac | November 12, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Correction...Mason was 10-7-1, still not bad in the CAA.

Posted by: cmjhawk86 | November 12, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I say REALLY think outside the box.
Hire Jia Xiuquan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jia_Xiuquan

Posted by: jleppig | November 12, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Andrulis wouldn't be a bad choice, either. At least he's won a Supporter's Shield in his career...

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

People seem to forget Williams' technical abilities. With Marco in front of him, Williams was tasked with closing down the opponent's attacking midfielder. But Williams was a tremendously skillful player, an excellent passer, and as a player under Manny Shellscheit (sp?) and Bruce Arena, he knows the game.

Richie also knows how to win. His Union Lancers club team won the U19 national championship, his Virginia Cavaliers won a couple of NCAA titles, and his DC United won a couple of MLS championships. You want a winner? Here you go.

Importantly, WIlliams also knows Kevin Payne and his expectations.

Go with Williams. And for those of you who say "no" to Williams, please say why... other than "I don't understand the big deal about Williams."

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 12, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Go with Williams. And for those of you who say "no" to Williams, please say why... other than "I don't understand the big deal about Williams."

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 12, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

---------------

Williams and Onalfo ZERO significant coaching experience in the professional ranks. More importantly, they have ZERO success as a coach in the professional ranks. A former player's abilities have little-to-no bearing on his quality as a coach. [See Maradona, D. as a player vs. Maradona, D. as a coach.]

On the other hand, Bruce Arena's playing career was craptacular. But Bruce is a coaching legend. Do NOT be swayed by sentimentailty for a local guy. Do NOT be swayed by a candidate's playing career.

DO look at a candidate's coaching accomplishments. Because of this, I think it's clear that DCU NEEDS either Hamlett, Sarachan, or Andrulis.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"Steven Goff for coach!!!"

@ 9Nine9

Great idea, but who is he going to piss off for his interviews?

Posted by: no_recess | November 12, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

If college coaches are going to be considered...has anyone considered Andrulis at Mason?
Posted by: cmjhawk86 | November 12, 2009 11:59 AM
____________________________________
If you talk to anyone who supports Columbus, they'd LOVE for DC United to hire Greg Andrulis. And that's not a good thing. There's a reason he's at George Mason, and it's because he didn't do a real good job in his stay with the Crew.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | November 12, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Andrulis? Sarachan? Hamlett?

These are insane suggestions.

And KC was tanking while Onalfo was still there. The 6-0 at Dallas was the last straw.

Williams is the best option, so far.

Even better would be Wilmer Cabrera.

Posted by: StanShmenge | November 12, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

If you talk to anyone who supports Columbus, they'd LOVE for DC United to hire Greg Andrulis. And that's not a good thing. There's a reason he's at George Mason, and it's because he didn't do a real good job in his stay with the Crew.

Posted by: schmuckatelli |

-----------

Andrulis has been MLS Coach of The Year. Andrulis has won the US Open Cup.

Onalfo was PASSED OVER by Colorado to hire Clavijo. What else has he accomplished as a HEAD coach? What about his acouting abilities? Did the wiz find good players for their roster?

Williams was SO impressive that the crappy red bulls REMAINED crappy during and after his interim stints as head coach. What else has he done as a coach? What about his acouting abilities? Did Red Bull find good players for their roster?

A franchise like DCU needs a proven winner AS A COACH. Period.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Williams was a mediocre player at best, he was with DC united because Arena for some unknown reason kept him on the roster.

Since he was a crappy player he might make a good coach.

He has no track record as a coach so... experiment with him???

Let's get a real coach, European perhaps? MLS fútbol (soccer) bores me to death :-(

DCU should bring someone who will teach them to play NOT JUST PASS THE FREAKING BALL!!

Posted by: riceldi | November 12, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Williams is the best option, so far.

Posted by: StanShmenge | November 12, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

------

If you close the window blinds and drapes, turn off the lights, cover your eyes with a mask and close them too, you'll see all the things that Williams has done as a coach:

NADA.

Andrulis, Hamlett, and Sarachan have already PROVEN what they can do. Williams has done NOTHING as a coach.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I can say about Hamlett is,

"To be or not to be, that is the question".

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

And if Williams really is the best option, then we need more options.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

If I had to choose, I would go with Williams since crappy players make good coaches from time to time; look the caps Bodreau, he wasnt a great player :-)

Posted by: riceldi | November 12, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

__________________________________________

Wow, comparing a player (Boudreau) who did not break into the NHL, to a player (Williams) who has 20 Caps for the National team, who was a steady solid player during his time in the league.

Though, I do agree, usually those lesser players make better coaches. :) I am not so sure the benifits of either Williams or Onalfo. Onalfo has the experience, but..if it's down to these two, I'd go for a stretch and say Williams.

Posted by: dogboy | November 12, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

sorta off-topic, but how's Marco doing in Bolivia?

Posted by: nairbsod

Won his first game. Info was on behindthebadge I think.

Posted by: Reignking | November 12, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

A former player's abilities have little-to-no bearing on his quality as a coach. [See Maradona, D. as a player vs. Maradona, D. as a coach.]
==============
Khaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnn!!!

I disagree, and if you use a coke-head like Maradona as your example, you've already lost the argument.

Williams is a product of Arena -- as you describe, a "coaching legend" -- and he used to live with Bruce! Can you tell me he learned NOTHING from Arena? And you imply that being a technically good, tactically smart player has no bearing on your ability to teach the game. That doesn't make sense to me, and is certainly no cause to rule him out.

Williams has been around great coaches his entire life. And the only way he'll meet your requirement of having success as a coach is if he's allowed to coach. If "success as an MLS coach" is a mandate, why are these coaches available?

As for knowing Payne, it's an asset because he intellectually knows what Payne wants. That's not emotion -- that's just smart.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 12, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of Payne first, then worry about coaching candidates. In fact, bring in a new front office and let the coach search will take of itself.

Posted by: LCR-54 | November 12, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

What about Harksey?

Posted by: cfrazier91 | November 12, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

re: "Williams was a tremendously skillful player, an excellent passer,"

joedoc, let's not get carried away. Richie had the touch of a cinderblock. He was good at two things: denying the opposing a-mid the ball, and making them miserable when they did have the ball. Richie was a a good passer of the ball primarily when it was backpasses. If he won a ball and actually did successfully get it up to Marco, than that was a plus.

Richie was a tenacious defensive midfielder. Lionel Messi he was not.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I CANNOT believe that Onalfo and Williams can be seriouis contendors. Are you kidding me?!!!

Let's get a real, proven coach!!

Posted by: cfrazier91 | November 12, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Ruthie.

The people on the pitch are much more important than those to the side of it.

Posted by: Reignking | November 12, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

dogboy, Bruce Boudreau played 141 games in the NHL.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

. . . yeah Hamlett may be worth it just for ability to post Shakespeare puns . . .


Otherwise, what joedoc said . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | November 12, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Is Marco interviewing?

Posted by: aflores1 | November 12, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I disagree, and if you use a coke-head like Maradona as your example, you've already lost the argument.

Williams is a product of Arena -- as you describe, a "coaching legend" -- and he used to live with Bruce! Can you tell me he learned NOTHING from Arena? And you imply that being a technically good, tactically smart player has no bearing on your ability to teach the game. That doesn't make sense to me, and is certainly no cause to rule him out.

Williams has been around great coaches his entire life. And the only way he'll meet your requirement of having success as a coach is if he's allowed to coach. If "success as an MLS coach" is a mandate, why are these coaches available?

As for knowing Payne, it's an asset because he intellectually knows what Payne wants. That's not emotion -- that's just smart.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 12, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

-----------------------

Don't like Maradona? How about Ossie Ardiles, then? Ardiles won the 1978 World Cup with Argentina. He helped Tottenham win the FA Cup as a player. Ardiles has 1,000,000 times the ability as a player that Williams will EVER have. Yet Ardiles, like Maradona is a middling coach.

"Intellectually" knowing the GM won't help a coach work out in-game tactics. Having "been around great coaches" won't help a 5'0" ankle-biter to separate two players that are fighting each other in training. And Williams might have learned from Arena how to pick his favorites for a squad [see the stupid signing of C. Reyna to red bull] instead of the best possible player.

Just because Williams is a "favorite" in these parts does LITTLE to help him become a winner AS A COACH.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Marco is interviewing, he talks to the Bolivian press all the time.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

As between the two, Richie wins hands down. LostinPotomac has it right: "people prefer Richie because they remember his fiestiness as a player and are hoping he brings that dimension to DCU who's players seem to often lack inspiration for long periods between games." We might hope from him that he provides the sort of coaching for DCU that Dunga has provided for Brazil -- not to say that Richie is any Dunga, but they were the same sort of player at their respective levels of the game, and as much as we love DCU for the creativity of its best stars, it needs more feistiness in the meantime.

Still, I yearn for more of a Preki if he were to become available. No view about Hamlett.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | November 12, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

DCU players had plenty of inspiration. What they lacked was PACE. Last season we were so much slower than every team in the league, it was pathetic.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Richie was a a good passer of the ball primarily when it was backpasses.
Posted by: Ron16
================

I agree with the idea of this statement, but "passer of the ball"? What else would you pass.

Oh right, this.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 12, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I-270, you can pass the buck or pass the blame, but those things are usually done after the game.

Posted by: Ron16 | November 12, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

In the debate - where Steve has made Arena the Parcells of futbol - Richie Williams is Bill Belicheck to Onalfo's Al Groh.

Wow - that was a stretch.

Look - I know that Kansas City is the Newcastle/Hull/Aberdeen of MLS. I know that's true domestically and abroad in talent acquisition. It's only saving grace is that for smaller salary players - your dollar goes a lot further in KC than in NYC/DC/LA. YET - I didn't see a compelling construction put out by Mr. Onalfo. He did find a few gems here and there in the draft and has always given DC a good matchup (suggesting he knows the current squad better than our former Manager), but I'm not sold on a guy who gets the ouster from a club that's had a pretty good backline and has failed to produce good, consistent, attacking soccer with Lopez, Wolff, and EJ.

Now Williams is the homer pick for a number of reasons. No, he doesn't have anything more than a handful of games to his name. True, he has been working for the enemy. Also True - he's been the least controversial and longest tenured member of Red Bull's front office/coaching staff. He's been retained by every staff that's come in and wasn't dragged onto the carpet in Austria to apologize for being a joke.

Preki and Hamlett are the wild cards with results and fiery personalities to their credit. Preki has to have cultivated hispanic ties after working with Chivas and Hamlett the same in Chicago. However, there's no guarantee that they want to come to DC. Of the other candidates - Spencer is a good choice, but also likely to get a look at Chicago, New York and Toronto.

So - work with me here - Richie as the Gaffer. Moreno as head scout/attacking coach. Benny as bench coach/emotional leader. Simpson working with Keepers.

I'm excited!

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | November 12, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how I feel about head coach, but I do agree with VBB based on what I've seen that Mark Simpson deserves to stay as the goalkeeper coach. He did a great job with helping Wicks' and Kocic's development this season, and I'm excited to see what he will be able to do with Hamid as well.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | November 12, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I thought John Ellinger would have been a better choice as head coach than Peter Nowak. So I should probably refrain from giving any advice.

Unless Sven-Juergen Maradona declares his candidacy.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 12, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh!!!!

We're forgetting Domenech is about to be free to find a new job!

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | November 12, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's get Zorn; he will be available soon :-)

Seriously, let's get someone experienced from Europe for a change of pace and play that exciting fútbol not just pass soccer and lucky goals.

Posted by: riceldi | November 12, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

So - work with me here - Richie as the Gaffer. Moreno as head scout/attacking coach. Benny as bench coach/emotional leader. Simpson working with Keepers.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | November 12, 2009 1:03 PM |

------
Two things:

1. Holy crap is that convoluted.
2. The dearth of coaching experience, and SUCCESSFUL coaching experience in that group will lead DCU to be crappy for years to come.

I posit that if you're going with an inexperienced coach, that you'd better have some steady hands in the assistants' departments. Neither Benny nor Moreno have that. BUT:

With an experienced HEAD coach [like Andrulis, Hamlett, or Sarachan] you can help Olsen and/or Moreno get their starts in coaching. And keep them in the fold. And keep the DCU family together. And help the team win.

With an inexperienced/crappy HEAD coach like Williams or Onalfo, I don't think that Olsen or Moreno would help the team, due to THEIR lack of experience as coaches.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Williams, Onalfo or whomever, it matters little. What matters is that the next coach is experienced with the complexities of MLS budget restrictions and player evaluations/selections. Coach needs to be respected and the players need to be happy.

Posted by: juke2 | November 12, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Richie will make a fine lap dog for Payne. I'm sure that's the choice, unless or until Chang completely shuffles the deck.
Coach ABMOD. Lots of little generals.

Posted by: dsheon1 | November 12, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Sasho needs to stay at MD. He still has a few more years to build on so that MD becomes as dominant at VA once was. He plays in one of the best facilities in the country and in the most competitive conference. He produces players for the MLS, Europe, and the MNT so let him keep churning them out. FOr selfish reasons I want to continue to see Sasho in my backyard for years to come. VAMOS TERPS! They will recover from thier loss yesterday.

Posted by: terptilldeath | November 12, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

First, this discussion for me is between Onalfo and Williams -- per Goffer's question at the end of his post.

Second, @Khan: your ability to compare apples to locomotives is impressive. And your apparent distaste for Williams' size -- I think twice you referred to him as an "ankle biter" -- begs me to question your motives.

I've laid out a case why Williams should be an MLS coach. You've articulated an argument that Williams shouldn't be a coach because... he hasn't been a coach.

At this point, I think Dave Mason has it right... we just disagree.

But I'm right.

:-)


Posted by: joedoc1 | November 12, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Totally Off Topic: Bad week for 'keepers!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8357262.stm

I feel bad for Cudicini. He finally had his chance as Spurs' #1 -- and now this.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | November 12, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Onalfo was tremendous at first with KC. At the end, not so tremendous.

Many of the observations folks make here speak to larger organizational issues - scouting, etc. The coach has a role there but won't be the savior. The rest of the organization has to step up.

So, for pure X's & O's, fitness concerns, and motivation - where the coach has the most direct input - I'd have to go with Richie. He's not perfect but may be the best on the table right now.

And, if it's Richie - I'd love to see DCU put an offer on the table that persuades him before NYRB decides. If ya want him, don't wait for NYRB to decide. Take him.


Posted by: inbetweenswims | November 12, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

What else would you pass. Oh right, this.
Posted by: I-270Exit1

Why is it all of your links are blocked by my evil work/IT programs? Were they demure pictures of J. Alba from Dadryan?

Posted by: delantero | November 12, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of Williams. I think people are short-changing his quality and experience as a coach. NY didn't run the table with him in charge, but it played some pretty good, attacking soccer, consistently. Their midfield was sharp. That style definitely fits the DCU brand, as does Williams himself in so many obvious ways.

I still expect NY to make Williams an offer, especially if he's still under contract with them.

But if DCU does get him, he should decide about the staff. I don't like the idea of current players assuming any coaching duties with Williams, unless he asks for it. Arena didn't let the players run the team.

Olsen and Moreno have both expressed a desire to return as players, and both have had a good attitude about reduced roles. So there's a good chance that will happen, like it or not.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | November 12, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Man, I hope we have more options than these. Between these two, I'll take Spencer. Or Sarachan.

Posted by: RIP-21 | November 12, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Why is it all of your links are blocked by my evil work/IT programs? Were they demure pictures of J. Alba from Dadryan?

Posted by: delantero | November 12, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

He just had a flashback...back to his days as a Musical Youth.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | November 12, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Let's get our team back on the winning track...too bad we missed out on Peter Novak.

I would treat these two as guys that we owed the proper respect to and that's why we are even interviewing them. However, we're talking about a team that is supposed to be the league standard.

So, let's get back to business and bring in a coach that has a WINNNING track record; which neither of these guys do.

Posted by: usee360 | November 12, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Second, @Khan: your ability to compare apples to locomotives is impressive. And your apparent distaste for Williams' size -- I think twice you referred to him as an "ankle biter" -- begs me to question your motives.

I've laid out a case why Williams should be an MLS coach. You've articulated an argument that Williams shouldn't be a coach because... he hasn't been a coach.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 12, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

------

This may or may not be. But when you called Richie Williams, "tremendously skilled," I doubt your knowledge of the game.


Oh, and you're tremendously wrong about either of Onalfo or Williams. They have done nothing to prove their worth as coaches.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I vote for Wee Man!

Posted by: Senor_Funk | November 12, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that was too easy for me. Like stealing candy from a baby.

Good effort, though, Khan.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 12, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

""But when you called Richie Williams, "tremendously skilled," I doubt your knowledge of the game""

Skill and Richie Williams shouldn't be used in the same sentence. Gnat and Richie Williams should, though.

Posted by: delantero | November 12, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Why is it all of your links are blocked by my evil work/IT programs?
Posted by: delantero
===============

Your company hates youtube or songs that celebrate marijuana.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 12, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of Cirovski from UMD, and I'm the farthest thing from a UMD fan! This guy has shown that he has a great eye for talent and has the ability to put the pieces together well on the pitch.

Posted by: usee360 | November 12, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

joedoc:

We're more or less on the same page. I'm still waiting on an actual argument against Williams. The fact that his ability as a player keeps coming up is silly (and the fact that people keep saying he was garbage illustrates how hard it is for a defensive midfielder to be noticed for what they do right). The argument of inexperience is the only thing I've seen that's even a legitimate piece of evidence against him, and that's dulled a bit when you consider the success other MLS coaches have had in their first real gig (including with United, in Nowak's case).

khan1:

You tipped your hand as a Fire fan early in the thread by begging us to take Hamlett. Suggesting him, Sarachan, and Andrulis is further evidence of your desire for us to continue being mediocre.

VBB:

We come to the same conclusion about Onalfo's Wizards, but get there very differently. Outside of Jimmy Conrad (and the potential of Harrington), KC has not had a good group of defenders in years. I'd go so far as to say that their defenders are their biggest problem.

I also think that the idea of Onalfo having this incredible knowledge of DC United's squad is a myth spawned from how KC tore us up in the first home game of 2007. After that, Onalfo wasn't coming to every DC game he had time to attend; when Soehn left him completely befuddled in their visit to RFK last year, this apocryphal story should have been left for dead.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | November 12, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Richie Williams is inexperienced. But, the more I think about it, experience leads to mediocre coaching records in MLS.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 12, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Andrulis, Hamlett, and Sarachan have proven that they are mediocre coaches who have a proven track record of underachievment. If you are using a US Open Cup Trohy win as a defense then I submit that Tommy Soehn also won one of those and we all know that he does not belong as DC United's head coach.

Posted by: sacole13 | November 12, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

khan1:

You tipped your hand as a Fire fan early in the thread by begging us to take Hamlett. Suggesting him, Sarachan, and Andrulis is further evidence of your desire for us to continue being mediocre.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell |

--------------------

OK, you caught me. It WOULD please me to see you guys bring in Hamlett, Sarachan, or Andrulis.

For that matter, it would please me to see you guys bring in one of the morons who thought it would be a good idea to use a DP contract on a holding MF in Reyna.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I meant it would please me if you guys brought in Richie Williams, one of the morons who thought it was a good idea to use a DP contract to bring Reyna into red bull.

Objectively speaking, while you might post that there haven't been any arguments against Williams, I look at it the other way:

There really aren't any good reasons FOR Williams to be a head coach @ DC, nor any other team in MLS. Top to bottom, the quality of coaching in MLS is poor at best.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@khan1: So who are we overlooking who is (1) not already a head coach, (2) not ridiculously unattainable, and (3) I have no #3, but didn't want to break the rule of threes.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 12, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the league as a whole is weaker at the coaching position than in terms of the player talent. And this is DESPITE the thinning of the talent pool by [over]expansion.

Having said this, anyone dumb enough to be on board to sign Claudio Reyna, a holding MF to a DP contract in a salary cap league, should never work with numbers or sharp objects.

But to your question, IF DCU wants to be the "flagship franchise" of this league, then Richie Williams and Curt Onalfo are below this ideal. Off the top of my head, John Spencer and Preki are well ahead of Williams and Onalfo as candidates, IMO.

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter WHO the coach is if DCU does not sign at least a couple of new experienced internationals at center midfield and in the back line, particvularly left back.Hopfully Namoff comes back on the right side.

Posted by: lemovs1 | November 12, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I really have to disagree on the "quality of coaching" comment. I think most of these guys are probably pretty good but in MLS you can only do so much with what you're handed and in MLS its is very difficult to get as many good players as you want. Not only is there the money issue, but you also have the location issue. You can bet your butt that it is way more difficult to get a good player to come to KC or Denver than Seattle or LA. Now a great coach may be able to offset the location issue, but on the other hand why would he go there.
KC and the like are where coaches go to begin their careers and if they can do slightly above 50-50, they likely are pretty good and definitely worth considering for more "attractive locations" and operations. Remember too that players do have choices and you can bet location and the quality of the operation makes a difference.

The key to succes in MLS is a good sporting director and an attractive place to play. Like bees to honey, the quality coaches and players will follow.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | November 12, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Ruthie1:

"I really have to disagree on the "quality of coaching" comment. I think most of these guys are probably pretty good but in MLS you can only do so much with what you're handed and in MLS its is very difficult to get as many good players as you want."
=====================

So do you believe that most MLS coaches are GOOD?

=========================
Ruthie1:

"Not only is there the money issue, but you also have the location issue. You can bet your butt that it is way more difficult to get a good player to come to KC or Denver than Seattle or LA. Now a great coach may be able to offset the location issue, but on the other hand why would he go there."
=======================

Yeah, why would a great player like Schelotto go to a crappy place like Columbus, right?

===============
Ruthie1:

"KC and the like are where coaches go to begin their careers and if they can do slightly above 50-50, they likely are pretty good and definitely worth considering for more "attractive locations" and operations. Remember too that players do have choices and you can bet location and the quality of the operation makes a difference."

Posted by: Ruthie1 | November 12, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse
==================

You're right. Kansas City hasn't won as many titles as a much-superior location as NY/NJ, no?

At the same time, since Columbus signed crappy coaches like Sigi Schmidt, it's a good idea to go after geniuses like Onalfo and Williams, right?

Posted by: khan1 | November 12, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Nowak had no experience when he took over DCU. I'm not opposed to Williams and/or Onalfo on those grounds. But I don't really get excited about either one of them. I'm impressed with Preki. He's demanding. He was a skillful player. Goff, any word on whether or not DCU has talked to him or if he's on the list?

Posted by: Matte | November 12, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I believe Jaime as head coach and Bennie as asst. If not them, they need to look overseas or in South America. This team played too American the past two years and were burned badly they need to pick up the nuance of the better leagues or they will continue to languish behind the quickly evolving teams that make up MLS.
papple

Posted by: papple | November 12, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

DC United needs to think outside the box. They need a coach that will take them to World Club Championship every winter. To do this they need to win the CONCACAF Champions League. To do this they need an international coach that has the tactical acumen and an invincible strategy that took two average Valencia clubs to the Champions League finals. I'm speaking of course of Hector Cúper. This man can take any 11 players and get them to overachieve.

Posted by: doctortechie | November 13, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

I think it would be a bit small-minded to pick inexperienced local guys to lead a storied club like DC United. We deserve nothing less than a proven football (albeit MLS football) minds like Preki, Hamlett, or Sarachan...

Posted by: cidcamp70 | November 13, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

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