The return of Lothar?
April 12, 2006

Brace yourself; the circus is beginning. MetroFanatic has learned that former Metro Lothar Matthaus, who most recently walked out on a Brazilian club he was coaching, has approached old cohort and Red Bull New York "advisor" Franz Beckenbauer about a role with the club. Whether that role is as a coach or in the front office is not known. However, with the rumored move of Alexi Lalas and the hot seat that Mo Johnston is supposed to be on, anything is possible.

Metro fans might remember Lothar for Charlie Stillitano mortgaging the 1999 season to sign him, wanting to play in New York because his then-girlfriend was a model, his sojourn at St. Tropez when he was supposed to rehab his back, and teaching Ben Olsen that the ball is round. Since retiring as a player, Matthaus went through spells coaching in Austria (Rapid Vienna), Serbia (Partizan Belgrade), Hungary (national team), and Brazil (Atletico Paranaese). The results have been mixed at every spot, except the last one; after only seven matches in charge without a single loss, he told the club officials that he needed to rush to Europe in order to take care of a urgent personal problem, promising them that he'll be back in 3-4 days. Lothar has not been backed to Brazil since, faxing in his resignation.

What is also amazing is Red Bull's apparent desire of bringing in coaches and management who do not understand American soccer; we've been through it before, with some of the biggest names in world soccer (Carlos Queiroz, Carlos Alberto Parreira, Bora Milutinovic). They've all failed, the last two miserably. Who is to think that Lothar -- or even Roberto Donadoni, as much as we love him for his stint as a Metro -- would do differently? Would any of them be able to name ten American players, know how the salary cap works, or understand the SuperDraft? Sure, they can learn, but that takes time... And can you imagine someone like Lothar taking his time on anything? And how fair is this to Johnston and Lalas, who, as far as we know, still have their jobs to do?

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