Friday, May 2, 2008

Who's On First?

You're getting a double helping of View From the Couch today. My preview of the DC game on Sunday will be up this afternoon, but I wanted to make some comments on today's Denver Post article.

When the Rapids announced the hiring of assistant coach Gary Smith this past offseason, a lot of people were wondering who the Englishman was and what his credentials were. Coach Fernando Clavijo and assistant John Murphy were among them.

In a move that could have been read a variety of ways, manager director Jeff Plush appointed Smith to Clavijo's staff

"I think there was probably a small breakdown in communication between Fernando and Jeff," Smith said.

Plush said in March that he was taking more ownership of personnel moves with the club and was not worried if appointing an assistant coach was normal practice. His concern was getting a strong coach in Smith.

"Who hired him is frankly irrelevant," Plush said.

Now I'm no fan of Clavijo's, but even I have to feel for him in this situation. You're given control of a team, but you don't even get to have a say in your assistants? And if there was any question about the rumors of a split between Clavijo and Plush, this pretty much confirms it. None of this is a reflection on Smith, who has been thrown into a bad situation, but this doe snot bode well for long term planning in the coaching staff. Probably another sign that Clavijo is gone at the end of the season unless he wins the MLS Cup.

There are few fans of the 4-5-1 formation Clavijo has favored this season — himself included.

The Rapids don't have a striker who suits the role, nor does attacking midfielder Christian Gomez have any experience supporting a lone striker.

Its things like this that drive me crazy with Clavijo. Suddenly we find out he doesn't like the 4-5-1, even though he used it all preseason and every report out o camp was that it was something he wanted to do.

If he never liked the 4-5-1, why use it? You can claim injury, but we had Peterson and Cummings that have been healthy pretty much all year. That's 2 strikers, plus McManus who was with the team but not eligible until the 3rd game. That leaves you nothing on your bench, true, but that's usually the reason most teams carry more than 2 true strikers going into the season.

If Clavijo liked the 4-5-1 and has changed his mind, then just say so. I doubt anyone would fault him any more for than then his "I don't like the formation I decided on, but I was forced to use it line", and at least it would be honest. The way its phrased now it just sounds like spin.

Jovan Kirovski is healthy but remains buried in the depth chart. Kirovski is fourth or fifth at striker and behind Gomez and Mehdi Ballouchy at attacking midfielder, Clavijo said.

Clavijo said Kirovski, 32, reported to training camp overweight but was fit when he strained his hamstring a week before the season opener.

Finally some good news! Jovan has never been successful in MLS, and he shouldn't see the field this season. I have to winder if he'll be the one who's cut next week when Petke and Casey come off of IR. My money was on Ballouchy, but after these comments...


Allen said...

I don't get the delay with signing Tam. Were the Rapids pursuing someone else? Tam delaying signing to see what else popped up?

As for the 4-5-1, why play Gomez out of position? He's got the skills to pull the strings. Why not risk the loss of strength by experimenting with someone like Colin Clarke in the role or up top? I fail to see why, especially after seeing him stuggle with that role, you'd continue to let Gomez be wasted in playing him there.

Clavijo gone at the end of this year? I'll believe it when I see it.

Nick said...

I honestly think the delay with McManus was an immigration problem. After all, he is Scottish and we should tread warily! I think he was always going to be bought, it was just a matter of getting the papers through. I think he could be a real asset to this team.