Dec. 11, 2007
'IT'S A GOOD FIT'
Former Fire captain Armas on Osorio
By Michael Lewis
|Chris Armas on Juan Carlos Osorio: "He has high standards. I wouldn't be surprised if they do well this year."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Juan Carlos Osorio, set to the named the new coach of the Red Bulls, has one supporter on his side -- former Chicago Fire captain and midfielder Chris Armas.
Armas, who played for Osorio before calling it a career after last season, felt the Colombian native would be a good fit for the Red Bulls. Osorio stepped down as Fire coach Monday and is expected to be named the 11th coach of the Red Bulls as early as this week, according to sources. He will succeed Bruce Arena.
"He's a good coach," Armas said Tuesday morning. "He's solid. In our situation, he was able to get a lot out of the group. It was something the team responded to. He is someone who works hard and takes a lot of pride in his job.”
With the Fire, Osorio kept it close to the vest with a defensive approach. It certainly worked because he was able to transform a struggling 4-7-4 side into a playoff team that finished 10-10-10 and fourth in the Eastern Conference (6-3-6 under Osorio).
"His style of coaching and philosophy is defense and hard work. On paper, it's easier said than done,” Armas said. “With the Chicago Fire, you saw we always had a chance to win games. If you have offensive weapons such as (Juan Pablo) Angel up top, it's a good fit.
"He has high standards. I wouldn't be surprised if they do well this year."
Armas was impressed particularly with Osorio's work ethic.
"He's very organized and pays attention all of the little details," he said. "He's honest and pays attention to his players."
Sounds a little like another coach -- former MetroStars coach Bob Bradley, the current U.S. national coach. Armas said there were differences between the two men.
"They have different personalities," he said. "They have different ways of talking with players.
"But their approach to the game, attention to detail, trying to turn over every stone, there are comparisons. The relentless effort to be prepared.
"If success is not achieved, it's not because of preparation or effort."
Looking at the Red Bulls as an outsider, Armas did not think the team needed a major overhaul, though Osorio will "try to put his stamp on things."
"Bruce Arena is leaving something behind that's pretty solid," he said. "I thought things were moving quickly in the right direction. I don't think they need to be revamped.
"I'm on the other side playing against that team. They were pretty tough to play against."
After a fast start, the Red Bulls sputtered at mid-season and finished third in the Eastern Conference with a 12-11-7 record. They were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs -- in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the New England Revolution.
The Red Bulls have reached the playoffs nine times in 12 seasons, being eliminated on eight occasions in the opening round.
In contrast, Osorio masterminded the Fire to a first-round upset of favored D.C. United before losing to New England in the conference final, 1-0, on a bicycle kick goal by Taylor Twellman.
Armas, who moved back to the metropolitan area after last season, would like to remain in soccer. He would like to coach, whether it is at the college or professional level. He certainly would consider working as an assistant under Osorio.
As it turns out, Armas will help name the next Fire coach. He was asked to be a consultant on the Fire’s search by club president and general manager John Guppy.
“I said I would help out any way I could,” Armas said.