On Monday, NYCFC parted ways with Head Coach Jason Kreis after the club failed to make the playoffs in its inaugural season. The manager who put Real Salt Lake on the map—and the player who scored 91 goals for the Dallas Burn—is now unemployed.
Should the Revolution pursue the MLS Cup-winning manager? Our staff weighs in.
Coaching consistency goes a long way in MLS. Toronto FC serves as the ultimate case in point. Since entering the league in 2007, TFC has had nine(!) coaches and one playoff berth. In contrast, the Revs have had two coaches and six playoff berths in the same span of time. Heaps is a fine coach, who has shown steady improvement. Sure, 2015 was a disappointing year, but it's not enough of a reason to make such a drastic change. Kreis is a great coach, but the Revs need to stick it out with Heaps, at least for another season.
Three years ago, Jay Heaps turned a mediocre, talent-starved club into a surprising playoff presence. Two years ago, he took this team to the MLS Cup Finals. But when a coach like Kreis—one of the most accomplished gaffers in league history—hits the market, you call his people and schedule a meeting.
As a manager, Kreis has won 100 MLS matches. He has hoisted the Anschutz Trophy. And he has taken all but two of his teams (2007 Real Salt Lake, 2015 NYCFC) to the playoffs. Jay Heaps has made great strides at the helm of this club. But if Mike Burns and the Revs front office want an MLS Cup crown, Kreis seems like the next-level guy to make it happen. Plus, that 4-4-2 diamond he employed with RSL could suit the Revs well...
As much as I like Jason Kreis, he got a raw deal at New York City by getting axed yesterday. He knows how to build a team, develop a system and integrate players. Kreis could be a better coach than Jay Heaps, but it's Heaps that has rebuilt the New England Revolution and it's time for Heaps' front office to double down on his successes on the field by rewarding him, not finding someone else.
Remember—coaching can only take a team so far, probably more so in MLS with salary caps, rookie drafts, etc., that are designed to promote parity in the league. Making the playoffs three years in a row is still impressive, despite a 2015 finish that most fans would call disappointing. The Revs have been very good at acquiring players via MLS mechanisms—SuperDraft, trades, waiver wire, blind draws. If there is a player the Revs need to get them over the top, he will likely come as an international signing, possibly as a Designated Player. That's a decision the organization as a whole must get right in order to build in the momentum Heaps has generated the last three seasons.