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A Matter of Trust

Backe's underlying issue was always one of trust.

Jeff Zelevansky - Getty Images

As shocking as it was when it was announced Erik Soler was out as Red Bulls GM, the news a little more than a week later that his head coach choice, Hans Backe, isn't coming back is the opposite.

Especially when the team was -- rather unprofessionally -- openly flirting with replacements like Harry Redknappand Gary McAllister.

But now he's done. The guy most Red Bulls fans wanted gone rather than Soler, is heading back to Sweden in December, according to

Exactly why Backe's contract won't be renewed isn't exactly a secret. Backe had the most talented roster in MLS, almost unquestionably. Every player he dresses on matchday could, potentially, be a starter on another MLS team. It was an embarrassment of riches. And that's exactly how it turned out: embarrassing.

Because, truthfully, it didn't always seem like Backe trusted in the roster Soler built for him. With three, quality MLS strikers in Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper and Sebastien Le Toux, he tried to put them all on the field at the same time. At one point, he started three defensive midfielders -- Teemu Tainio, Rafael Marquez and Dax McCarty -- into the line-up. Players who made an impact, like Connor Lade or Cooper, had to force their way into the line-up.

Even with all the talent, Backe thought Backe's tactics trumped just letting his guys play. It was more important to outsmart guys Peter Vermes than to stick with what works. And that was the issue in the end.

His legacy as possibly the best coach in MetroBulls history isn't to be determined now. He's got two games and, God willing, playoffs, to decide that. But the last week makes it seem as if the team's higher-ups have all but given up, which is really the story here.