Minnesota United FC just concluded their inaugural MLS season finishing with a record of 10-18-6 which placed them 9th in the Western Conference. There have been grumblings among the fans about the job Adrian Heath did during the season. We decided to tackle this issue as well. Please join in the roundtable discussion by answering the questions in the comments section.
1: General thoughts on the job Adrian Heath did this season?
katosportsgirl: I thought Heath did better than expected. He had little to nothing to work with at the start of the season and after getting it handed to us in our first two matches he brought us a respectable first year finish.
Siems: All things considered, I think Heath did as well as anyone could have. The team was put together in what seemed like 5 days, had a marginal level of talent, and looked to be historically bad. He got the most out of Christian Ramirez and Abu Danladi, and he was able to figure out a way to stop the constant flood of goals.
Birsch: I think Heath did a fairly good job getting the most out of the roster that he was dealt. I think there were times that he stuck with players that completely baffled me (like sticking with Ish for so long but that seemed to be more out of depth than anything), but ultimately I think most of the players responded well and I would say that he was able to get more out of the team than I had expected going on.
Eli Hoff: I think he did as expected. He wasn't supposed to come in and help us win the league, he was supposed to help the transition go okay, which it did. Yeah, he could've been better, but I think there were some front office problems that affected him, and he could've been a whole lot worse.
dvits14: He did as well as could be expected. No one was going to win on a consistent basis with this roster the way it was constructed. There are always things you can nitpick and complain about coaches/managers. We all have our own preferences on how things should be run. But the fact is the team improved as the season went along while making a late, yet unrealistic, push for the playoffs. I’m just not convinced at this point anyone could have done a better job. There was one famous prediction of the team only winning five games, they doubled that. Heath must have been doing something right guiding this team.
2: Do you think Heath should be fired?
katosportsgirl: No, see above.
Siems: Absolutely not.
Birsch: Unless something drastic comes out this offseason about how the players feel they left points on the table in multiple games, or that they feel they would have performed dramatically better under different management, I don't think he should be fired. I think it was important for the organization as a whole to get a year under their belt to see how everyone involved (Front Office, Heath, players) can work together, and to understand what everyone needs from each other. I expect to see a lot of moves this winter, but not Heath. (At the same time, Heath sits with a worse winning percentage - 30% - than he did with Orlando City SC in MLS - 33% - when he was sacked so who knows).
Eli Hoff: No. He gets at least three seasons. You don't ditch a LEGO set after the first step, so you don't ditch your manager after your first season.
dvits14: Absolutely not. He was brought on to be part of a three year plan to build this club. I think it would be incredibly short-sighted to blow the three year plan up after one season.
3: If Heath were to be fired, do you realistically think they could find a better manager? If so, whom?
katosportsgirl: No I don't the fact that we had little to no depth would've provided a challenge no matter who the coach is. A 10 win season with this roster is definitely good in my book.
Siems: If he were to be fired, I have no idea who we would find to replace him. The only manager that is out there would probably be Gio Savarese (currently managing the New York Cosmos.) I am all for giving new managers a chance (someone like Cobi Jones comes to mind,) but with an expansion team like MNUFC, you couldn't take that risk. Stick with Heath. If there is no improvement next season with (hopefully) new players, then you look at making a change.
Birsch: If I am wrong about Heath staying, I foresee the Loons snapping up someone from MLS that isn't a head coach at the moment, but is on a successful staff. I don't know who that would be, and don't think it is likely to happen, but I think that the Front Office values league experience within MLS over anything else. Would it be cool to see a huge name signed, yes, but we have seen that this isn't how the club approaches things.
Eli Hoff: In the event that Arsene Wenger can't be persuaded to come on over and Pirlo takes the USMNT job, we make Jerry player/manager.
dvits14: Realistically speaking, I’m not sure who they could find that would do a better job. I’m not sure the names I’ve seen floated and discussed are realistic or an improvement. You could always take a flier on someone who hasn’t coached before but are you really willing to take that risk this early in the process of building this franchise?
So what do you think Loon Army? Should Heath stay or should Heath go? Why?