On Thursday, the New England Revolution announced that they had relieved head coach Brad Friedel of his duties. Here are three thoughts on the decision.
- It was the right move. The hiring of Friedel was uninspiring from the beginning. While the former netminder has an impressive playing resume, his lack of professional experience was a concern. Friedel’s high-press system was impressive at first and had me second-guessing my initial thoughts. When opponents adjusted, it became clear that Friedel was over his head. This became more and more apparent as time went on. Friedel frequently changed his lineup in search of an effective starting XI and had no qualms about benching players or making halftime substitutions. He even questioned his player’s effort on different occasions. By the end of his tenure, it was clear that Friedel had no answers, which is why it was time for him to go.
- Friedel didn’t leave things better than he found them. When Friedel took over as head coach, the general consensus was that the Revs had a promising roster that was under-performing. Now, the roster is in disrepair. During his first season in charge, Friedel sent way known entities like Kei Kamara, Krisztian Nemeth, and Lee Nguyen (that last one was probably going to depart anyway). The new arrivals, such as Gabriel Somi, Wilfried Zahibo, and Michael Mancienne were sub-par despite being on big contracts. Things didn’t improve much during Friedel’s second year, as the new faces haven’t been awe-inspiring. Carles Gil looks like the real deal, but Edgar Castillo and Juan Fernando Caicedo have been inconsistent. Meanwhile, the breakout stars of 2018 (Cristian Penilla and Luis Caicedo) have been in and out of the lineup. Let’s not forget that a host of youngsters were added without a clear plan to get them minutes. This can’t all be pinned on Friedel (more on that in a minute), but it’s difficult to imagine applicants being excited about the current state of the Revs roster.
- A new coach won’t make the Revs elite. A better, more experienced coach would get more out of this roster than Friedel did. That said, it’s going to take more than a new voice on the sideline to put the Revs in the upper echelon of MLS. Whether it’s because they hired a second rookie coach or signed off on puzzling transactions, the front office share some of the blame for the Revolution’s recent failures. A change in philosophy, approach, or leadership is needed if the Revs are going to be more than a team battling for a playoff spot.