The Upside of “Inchy”
Simply put, Adrian Heath has been here before. The fact that he has lead another expansion franchise through the exact process upon which we are about to embark makes him almost uniquely qualified.
Heath knows what works and, almost more importantly, what doesn’t. In his introductory press conference, Heath admits that there are things that he would have done differently with Orlando in retrospect. He gets to take with him the things that were successful, and has an opportunity to fix what wasn’t.
The fact that Heath’s Orlando City SC took the playoff race to the last day of their inaugural season is impressive to me. Reaching the post-season with a new team is difficult in MLS. The last expansion franchise to make the playoffs in their inaugural season was the Seattle Sounders back in 2009. Personally, I would be happy to be in the playoff hunt, even if it’s for the lower seeds.
Brand of Football
Soccer purists will appreciate some of the comments Heath made in his introductory press conference about how he intends United to play. The new manager stated that he doesn’t like when teams try to play for draws; he wants to play progressive football that will excite the fans.
However, Heath notes that no style or system is more important than winning. He won’t be putting aesthetics over winning, nor should he. It is good to know that he (hopefully) won’t cling to an unsuccessful strategy out of deference to a grand “philosophy” about how we should play.
Many Orlando City fans seemed upset by Heath’s firing. The fan groups held banners paying tribute to him the match after his sacking. He had been their manager for their entire existence as a franchise, and the community loved him.
Orlando Sentinel writer Mike Bianci says that Heath served as a “football ambassador” to the local community. He was an engaging and candid guest on local radio shows and to many, he was the face of the organization.
Heath and team ownership realized the importance of reaching out to the local community and building a fan base through engagement and interaction. United are still working on bringing fans on board for a team many Minnesotans aren’t very familiar with, so public outreach will be important to our long-term success.
And now the bad...
Let me preface this by saying that I 100% will support Adrian Heath. I just was not 100% sold on the hire. And here is why:
Yes, I get it. Adrian has done this before, but I do not see how that can only be seen as a plus. Just because a man has been in the position he is now does not automatically make him right for the job.
Adrian has about a 33% (16 wins in 50 games) winning percentage in the MLS. And do not tell me it is because his rosters were not talented. I am not defending Brek Shea, but he is still talented. Add in the fact that he has had arguably the best rookie in MLS history in Cyle Larin, I just worry about the record.
Heath likes to play a fast-paced, attacking style, and he had Kaká. When you have one of the best playmakers of the last fifteen years and you play an attacking style, I would expect more than one win every three games.
There are many things that can lead to a bad winning percentage, but Heath will need to prove to me that it was his roster.
Problem with retreads
I admit it. I have a problem with throwing out retreads at coach. I prefer a coach who has not been there before over one that was fired every time.
I was holding out hope that the Loons would give someone new a shot. I had visions of former US National Team players at the helm of the new team. I understand the reasoning for hiring those that have been there before, I would just prefer other options.
I am not actually that mad with the hire. I think that going with Heath makes a lot of sense and it is definitely the safest way to go. Like I said, I will 100% support him. I just had other ideas of who would be a good hire.
Agree or disagree with either one of us? Let us know in the comments below.