- MLS-tying winless streak (18 games)
- Worst single season run of form in league history (2 pts in 14 games)
- 2nd worst run of form in 28 games (2 wins)
- League-record worst home winless streak (11 games)
- Worst loss in team history, third worst in league history (6-0 @LA)
- Worst Rocky Mountain Cup loss in series history (5-1 @FSL)
- Worst scoreless streak in team history, third worst in league history (601 minutes)
That's just the "highlights" of course, there are may other numbers that could be mined out. In the end though it comes down to this, 2 wins in 28 games. That's just unacceptable. So the Rapids have essentially 4 outcomes with a coaching change.
- Keep Pablo, Pablo figures it out, team significantly improves, Pablo has the job in 2016
- Keep Pablo, the play continues at the current level, team needs to make a change in the offseason
- Remove Pablo, team significantly improves under interim coach, team has a leader in the clubhouse for the offseason coaching search
- Remove Pablo, the play continues at the current level under interim coach, team has already removed one candidate for the offseason coaching search
So in 3 of the 4 scenarios the team is going to be doing an offseason coaching search. The only scenario where they won't is the one all fans hope will happen but the track record so far deems most unlikely IMO, Pablo greatly improves over the next 20 games from his results from his first 48 games as coach.
Thus the reason I believe a change needs to be made. There is no evidence that Pablo is going to get significantly better results the rest of the way. It would be different if the team was showing a noticeable improvement in comparison to the rest of the league, but they're not. While the 14 points is the first 14 games of this season is an improvement from the 2 in 14 to end last season its not good enough compared to the rest of the league. As detailed before the team is already in a hole and 1 pt/game just makes it deeper. We now need to play at 1.6 pts/game the rest of the way to even think about a playoff spot. Its not like the team is showing that's likely. The last four games have been a 1-0 win at home to Vancouver (a good result), a poor loss in Seattle, a horrible loss at home to Portland, and a huge missed opportunity draw in Sandy with FSL. This is not the direction of a team about to turn things around, this is the direction of a team that's likely to stay in mired in the same results.
Based on that there's little risk in my mind in making a change. We can't get significantly worse and maybe a new coach can make us significantly better. Even if that coach does not make us better we at least find out if that interim coach should be a candidate for the position in 2016. From a PR perspective it also shows that the management cares about the results and are trying to solve the problem where right now the silence on that front is deafening.
Now you'll notice I've talked about "making a change" and "removing Pablo". I have intentionally not used the term "firing" the coach. Pablo isn't any coach when it comes to the Rapids. He is, by far (sorry 'Celo), the best player to ever wear the shirt and the first one to lead us to a MLS Cup. You can't just call him into Bravo's/Hinchey's office and tell him to clear out. He deserves more than that.
There's also the fact that this is a KSE team and, well, KSE is cheap. They aren't going to want to pay for a second head coach (see the Fernando Clavijo debacle) for the rest of 2015 and possibly 2016, depending on Pablo's contract. So that has to be taken into account when designing a plan.
So here's my proposal. Give Pablo a new role in the youth academy. With Brian Crookham being involved with the Charlotte Independence there's probably room for anther "Director of Soccer Development" or something similar that Pablo can move into to. Before his retirement Pablo had talked about wanting to coach youth soccer and working with kids and this would be a chance for him to do that. It gives everyone a face-saving out and doesn't put either the Front Office or Pablo through the ignominy of firing a club legend.
With the head coaching role being open, name Claudio Lopez interim head coach for the 2015 season. I am assuming (always dangerous) since he was the one to take charge in Dallas when Pablo was suspended that he's interested in coaching and seen as the "most ready" to take the role. Lopez has one simple mandate, using the current roster start winning games. I think putting any playoff pressure on him is unfair given the hole he'd be inheriting so all he would need to worry about is winning games. The USOC and the Rocky Mountain could (should) be goals as well depending on the importance the Front Office wants to attach to them.
Then in the 2015-16 offseason hold a real coaching search, not the farce of the 2013-14 offseason. Due to KSE budget realities the chances of signing a big name coach are almost nil but we can't start a third season in the last five with another rookie coach. That's asking too much from the fans and the players. So the focus of the coaching search should be on candidates that have some coaching experience and are looking for another chance and on coaches that can work with the current set of players and won't need to spend another two years in a rebuilding project. The type of candidates I'm thinking of are coaches like Mike Petke, Robin Fraser, and Wilmer Cabrera. If Claudio Lopez does well he would be a leading candidate and would come into 2016 with 20 games of experience should he get the job.
In the end this plan costs the Rapids (at most) paying Pablo an elevated salary to work with the academy in 2016 and going forward. All other costs are already in the budget for 2015 (as interim Lopez wouldn't get (much of) a raise). The 2016 budget has a head coaching salary in it, which the new coach would get. They risk very little as this season is already going down in flames. They get some positive PR for making a move when its necessary instead of letting another Clavijo situation develop. And maybe we actually start seeing better soccer at the Dick in 2015.