Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Smith and Pablo

OK, first the news, then the commentary.

As expected the Colorado Rapids named Gary Smith the new head coach today. Terms were not released but the rumor is that it was a 3 year deal. I didn't see the press release until later, but there's some talk that the Steve Guppy hiring was also announced in the press release, then pulled.

Unexpectedly the Rapids also announced the re-signing of team captain Pablo Mastroeni. Pablo was expected to try to move to Europe this offseason, but apparently "Wanting to go to Europe" was just code for "Not wanting to play for Clavijo anymore". Again, terms of the contract were not revealed.

First thing's first. Re-signing Pablo was a great move by the team, and barring a huge surprise I'm betting it will be the best move of the offseason. It locks down the center of the field, gives us veteran leadership and continuity, and allows the Rapids to focus on what to do with Gomez and the central defense.

I think Smith is a safe choice for coach. He's in the system, Plush knows him, he's worked with the players, etc. Given the speed of the signing though I wonder how much time the Rapids spent looking at other candidates. Some of the top names, Mariner, Spencer, and Fraser, are all working for teams that are either still in the playoffs or were eliminated this past weekend. That doesn't rule out the possibility that they talked with the Rapids, but there isn't a while lot of time to do a long interview process with those coaches are involved preparing their teams for the playoffs. It just makes me wonder if the Rapids took the easy way out or if they really took a serious look at somebody other than Smith.

Lastly the Rapids once again botched a major announcement. Steve Guppy spilled the beans last week about the Gary Smith signing, helped on by the Rhinos and "other sources" according to the Post and Soccer America. While I expect that the likes of Steven Goff and Ives Galarcep will break the news a day or two early, its different when a random article from the Rochester Rhinos breaks the news 6 days early. That was then followed by fans talking about the Smith-Guppy pairing as the Rapids coaching staff, and anonymous sources saying that we were "assuming too much" or that those deals hadn't happened yet. Then today they announce Smith (and possibly Guppy) as the coaching staff.

So how exactly were the fans assuming too much about deals that hadn't happened yet? OK, maybe pen hadn't been put to paper, but its pretty obvious that a verbal deal had been worked out. Stuff like this just makes it look like either the Rapids are incompetent at handling the press, or they just don't care. Really, you can't tell your new assistant coach to shut up for a week and not go on a NY radio show?

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