Thursday, January 21, 2016

Welcome Back Spencer!

Today the Rapids announced that the long discussed "offensive coordinator" will be Rapids legend and Gallery of Honor member John Spencer.  Spencer has been advising the team at least since the combine earlier this month and will be the primary assistant to Pablo going forward, presumably taking over Lopez's role.

For the newer Rapids fans, the wee Scotsman played for the Rapids between 2001 and 2004, becoming the 2nd highest scorer (at the time) in Rapids history, finishing just 2 goals short of Bravo's record in 47 less games.  After retirement he was an assistant coach with the Dynamo for 5 seasons before getting his first head coaching job with the expansion Timbers.  He was fired midway through his second year in Portland (2012) and since then has not been coaching.

Spencer would appear to be the coach-in-waiting if Pablo gets off to a bad start.  Spencer is a Rapids legend but I'm not sure he would be willing to return to assistant coaching without some path back to being  a head coach, either by helping turn around the current train wreck as an assistant or taking over the reins if the train wreck continues.

I loved John Spencer as a player but I have concerns about this move.  His track record in Portland wasn't good but they were an expansion team so its not really a fair measure.  Players have been positive about his work as an assistant in Houston which is a positive sign.  A real concern is this article about his time in Portland.  It appears that he was unhappy with the hands-on approach Merritt Paulson had with the Timbers.  We all know that Paul Bravo and Tim Hinchey are hands on with the Rapids, could that be another friction point?

I also wonder if this is another case of the Rapids not looking very hard to fill a hole.  This Front Office has suffered recently by doing the same thing over and over and now we're filling another coaching spot and we get an ex-player (Lopez, Mullan, Smith) and Gallery of Honor member (Pablo, Bravo).   We may have been better served finding someone with no ties to the organization to get an outsider's look at the team.

In the end I think this move is more positive than negative.  Its not a home run hire but its a solid double.  Now the key is getting the offensive players for Spencer to coach.

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