So, yesterday, I took to these (web) pages to outline the laundry list of things Ali Curtis has to take care of ahead of the 2015 season.
Included were finding a new assistant coach, building a USL staff and filling out the USL roster.
What wasn't included was "find a new head coach," since no one expected would need to be done. Not with Mike Petke patrolling the sidelines.
Marsch, according to Dave Martinez, gives Curtis "an immediate ally on the touchline and ownership over the team's sporting department," leading me to to assume that Petke was fired simply to allow Curtis to bring on his own (mediocre) staff.
Let's compare resumes. Petke is 30-19-19 in two seasons at the helm of the New York Red Bulls. He won the Supporters' Shield his first season and made an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in his second. He won an MLS Cup as a player with D.C. United.
Marsch was 12-17-7 in one season with the Impact and once served as an assistant to Bob Bradley on the national team. He won three MLS Cups and four U.S. Open Cups.
I'm not being disingenuous here. Marsch's resume only compares to Petke's if you weigh on-the-field contributions more heavily than ones along the touchline, unless being one of a slew of assistants to Bradley is particularly awe inspiring. And remember, this is for a job along that aforementioned touchline.
Curtis, essentially, just let go a head coach emblematic of the culture fans built around the team, the city the team represents and what it takes to succeed in MLS -- somebody that got it the way other MLS coaches don't even -- so he could have a friend in the tactical area, if the initial reports prove to be true.
Short of Petke taking a giant, messy dump on Curtis' keyboard as a welcoming gift, there is no reason to let Petke go.
Part of being a good manager is evaluating the talent you have and figuring out how to best utilize it. If Petke was dead weight, give him the ax. But if there's one thing he's proven over the last two seasons, it's that he's more than up to the job. Combine that with his institutional knowledge -- remember, he's been with the team since 2009, as a player for two seasons, then on staff up until, well, today -- and it's hard to see logic in getting rid of him.
He was let go because he's not in Curtis' 300 page plan.
According to another Empire of Soccer story, Curtis spent the early part of his Red Bulls tenure "conducting employee evaluations."
I could have only imagined how that conversation went.
"You know that thing Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley and Bora Milutinovic couldn't pull off? Yeah, that's cool and all, but I searched high and low in this document and I don't see your name here, so good luck to you."
Arena? Won two MLS Cups and a Supporters Shield with D.C. United in the early years of MLS, won two Gold Cups and lead the U.S. on a cinderella run through the 2002 World Cup while coaching the nats.
Bradley? Won the MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup in 1998 with the expansion Chicago Fire, added to the trophy cabinet in 2000 with another Open Cup and lead the U.S. to a Gold Cup and a runner-up finish in the Confederations Cup, sticking Spain, the best international team of all time, with its first loss in 35 games.
Milutinovic? Coached in five different World Cups and lead four different teams out of the first round -- the United States included at the 1994 tournament. He's called "the miracle worker" for Christ sake.
But none of them could win with the Red Bulls. Petke could, and for the sin of not having a strong enough prior relationship with his new boss, he's out.
I said yesterday that we'll know pretty quickly whether or not the one-year deal extended to Curtis is warranted or not. After all, you want your guys to have some job security.
We just found out it was, because if this is how Curtis is going to run things, -- through hardheadedness and preconceived notions about who, what and why -- he's simply not cut out for management.