Outspoken agent Ron Waxman took to Twitter in the aftermath of Canada's exit from CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. He revealed an interesting tidbit:
#CSA refused to meet Jesse Marsch who wrote detailed analysis of soccer in Canada & what needed to be done to improve, & hired Floro #CanMNT— Ron Waxman (@RonWaxman) September 7, 2016
Well that certainly sounds like Jesse, a detail-oriented sort of coach who has fit snugly into the New York Red Bulls, answering to a Sporting Director best known for his 300-page plan, and a Global Soccer organization built to the specifications of Ralf Rangnick, one of the most famously meticulous tacticians in football.
Benito Floro isn't very popular with Canadian soccer fans at the moment. He guided Canada to the brink of advancing to the Hexagonal - CONCACAF's final round of World Cup qualifying - but wasn't able to get the team past its old nemesis: Honduras in Honduras. A 3-1 win over El Salvador to close out qualifying proved too little, too late (and irrelevant, since Honduras held out for a tie in Mexico and therefore rendered Canada's last result meaningless).
So Canada is out of World Cup qualifying at exactly the same point it bowed out of the last cycle.
After Stephen Hart resigned his position as head coach of the Canada men's national team in October 2012, the Canadian Soccer Association took its time finding a new manager for its senior men's program.
Floro was appointed in July 2013, and now looks a strong candidate to be relieved of his appointment.
"This is not the moment to talk about that." #CanMNT Coach Benito Floro on his future as national team manager. pic.twitter.com/9ai3dWAwjY— Har Journalist (@HarJournalist) September 7, 2016
Would things have been different under Marsch? Who knows?
Getting a result against Honduras in San Pedro Sula is a different proposition from beating NYCFC on the regular.
Fairly or not, coaches are judged by results. And the results Marsch has got in 2015 and 2016 make him a very different sort of candidate to the one knocking on Canada's door in 2013. And it is only those results - and Floro's inability to make the Canadian men's team substantially better than Honduras in three years - that make the CSA's decision to ignore him look a little silly with hindsight.
But the circumstances of Marsch's appointment to RBNY were controversial in part because of his modest achievements at the time. He looked no more equipped to get Canada to the Hex in 2013 than he did to guide a rebuilding RBNY squad to the league title at the start of the 2015 season. And it's not clear that Canada would have been able to provide Marsch with what he found at RBNY: a tested and coherent playing style, a global scouting network, a relatively deep budget for player development, and a commitment to building the necessary infrastructure to create the sort of organization the Red Bulls want to be (one that nurtures and develops its own stars more often than its buys them in).
Marsch has a level of support at RBNY that very few coaches - for clubs or countries - enjoy. (For now. Papa Red Bull is nothing if not volatile.)
That he defied expectations in Harrison is not really Canada's loss, but it has certainly been RBNY's gain.