The Jay Heaps era has come to a close in Foxboro. After nearly six seasons, the Revolution parted ways with the accomplished defender and head coach, handing control to assistant Tom Soehn through the end of 2017.
All of this made us ask: did the club dismiss Heaps at the right time? Here’s what we came up with:
Seth: The decision came too late
After a poor two-game road trip in which the Revs collected more red cards than shots on goal, the organization had no choice but to fire Heaps. The move was largely done to please a fan base that had grown tiresome of the team's direction. If Heaps had been let go earlier, there's a possibility that the season could've been salvaged.
Consider this: Real Salt Lake sacked Jeff Cassar just three games into the 2017 campaign. The club soon installed Mike Petke as head coach, who has guided them into the playoff picture. RSL still has work to do if they want to play post-season soccer but their turnaround has been somewhat of an inspiration.
Now, firing a coach doesn't always lead to success (just ask the LA Galaxy), but it can bring new energy to the team. Early in the season it became clear that the Revs needed a new direction. Instead of making a move, the team maintained the status quo and they're now stuck with a lost season.
Nick: The decision came at the right time
It's easy to point fingers at Heaps for what will go down as a disappointing season. And to some extent, that finger-pointing is fair: the Revolution have not only failed to consistently contend this season, they've done so in incredible fashion, often playing non-competitive soccer on the road. But that doesn't mean the front office waited too long to make its move.
Regardless of when the Revs elected to fire Heaps, the plan was always to give assistant Tom Soehn the job on an interim basis, or so we can assume. The alternative? Expedite the search process and bring in an unattached coach midway through the season. It seems unlikely that either option would have resulted in a playoff berth. So the decision to part ways with Heaps—four months ago or on Tuesday—said more about 2018 than anything else. And if it was all about 2018, then the Revs did the right thing: give Heaps a chance to make a late playoff run while acclimating newcomers Claude Dielna and Krisztian Nemeth.
For two weeks in September, that run looked like a distant possibility. Then the Revs lost two straight on the road by a combined score of 10-1. GM Mike Burns responded by firing Heaps and turning his attention to 2018—just as he would have in June, July or August.
Did the Revs dismiss Heaps at the right time?
This poll is closed
No, it should have come sooner
No, it came too soon
Yes, the time was right