November 14, 2016
On Soccer Bowl, Heath and Klinsi
By Michael Lewis
Giovanni Savarese has paid his dues and he should get an opportunity at coaching an MLS team.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
A few quick thoughts from this weekend and the week ahead:
Counting the house
I heard several fans and experts say the North American Soccer League final should not have been played at Belson Stadium at St. John's University, but rather at Citi Field, home of the Mets.
Well, the disappointing crowd that showed up at Belson -- 2,150 in a stadium with a 2,500 capacity -- not only put that argument to rest, but buried it six feet under. If you can't fill a small stadium, how do you expect to make sure that a larger venue isn't an echo chamber?
On one hand, the Belson atmosphere was amazing, thanks in large point to Five Points, the Cosmos supporters who situated behind the east goal and were loud and enthusiastic from kickoff to the end of the shootout.
On the other hand, it must be an embarrassing moment for the league, having the showpiece of its championship game between its top two teams at a small venue that could not even be filled.
The Minnesota job
So, Adrian Heath reportedly has emerged as the leading candidate to coach Minnesota United next year, huh?
Nothing like recycling coaches, huh?
Heath was brought on to guide Orlando City SC in its 2015 expansion season before he was given the ax midway through this past season. Yes, he might be "an expert" in building Major League Soccer teams, but his MLS track record is sketchy and not impressive. No playoffs, at least not yet.
Giovanni Savarese, who directed the Cosmos to their third North American Soccer League crown in four years, reportedly has been mentioned as a candidate. He knows a thing or two about team building from scratch. Granted, comparing MLS to the NASL is comparing apples to oranges. Still, you must like his track record. And winning is winning.
And I don't know about you, but Gio has paid his dues and deserves a chance in MLS.
Our eyes on San Jose
I am still scratching my head over Jurgen Klinsmann's decision making process for the 2-1 loss to Mexico in Columbus Friday night, though some of you at there might be banging your heads against the wall.
Don't know what surprises he has planned for the Costa Rica qualifier Tuesday night, but I will be watching intendly on how the team players and if he has lost anyone or the team itself.
We have had recent experience in watching a team go down the drain early when New York City FC forgot to show up for the second leg of its Eastern Conference semifinal series against Toronto FC. The result was an embarrassing 5-0 loss and a 7-0 aggregate-goals defeat.
There was little doubt in my mind that Patrick Vieira lost the team in that game.
Let's see what transpires in San Jose, Costa Rica Tuesday night.