Ten Years Ago: The overrated Carlos Queiroz
April 26, 2006
When Metro fans are presented with the question, who is the greatest Metro coach of all time, the answer they give is usually preceded with a stare. It's hard to pick one out from eight mostly failures; you might hear Octavio Zambrano, and then remember that he rode the Clint Mathis gift horse as far as it could take him (which wasn't far) and came down crashing when it stopped; you might hear Bob Bradley, and then remember that the the first trip to a cup final was followed by three years of playoff disappointment, or you might hear... Face it, there is not much to choose from here, so the name many will come up with is one of Carlos Queiroz. And they would be dead wrong, even against such alternatives.
Queiroz took over the MetroStars on May 30th, six days after Eddie Firmani, who will never be mistaken for anything great, resigned after eight games in charge, a mistakenly almost respectable 3-5 record (two of those wins came by shootout, so it was really 1-5-2), and countless afternoon naps in his office. To say Firmani was incompetent is an understatement; and Queiroz was anything but. Coming to Metro off a stint with Sporting Lisbon, he was credited in building the "Golden Generation" of Portuguese soccer, leading his country to two Under-20 world titles in the early 1990s, as well as a number of top three finishes at other top prestigious world and European youth tournaments.
Inheriting a horrible Metro team that at this point only had one goalscorer, Giovanni Savarese, Queiroz promptly lost his first match to DC (but at least A.J. Wood scored), and got his first win on June 2nd as Metro won in Dallas (A.J. Wood again). But it wasn't getting results that was Queiroz's biggest problem early on; it was rebuilding a team horribly sunk by Firmani through incompetent player selection. Soon, gone were Mickey Kydes, Nidal Baba, Edmundo Rodriguez and others; Ruben Dario Hernandez was shown the door, and Metro fans were treated to a revolving flow of soon-to-be-forgotten names from USISL teams du jour: Martin Munnelly, Mirsad Huseinovic, Brent Longenecker, Omid Namazi, Stan Lembryk, Chris Brauchle, even the first appearance of Petter Villegas... Queiroz and Metro went out of their way to scour high and wide for players who can contribute, and got a few in injured-too-soon Manny Lagos, four-goal scorer Rob Johnson, the mulleted Ian Hennessy, and front office employee Chris Unger.
While this whirlpool of players helped get Metro some results, it didn't bring them any stability. The team would kill Columbus 4:0 on the road one week, and lose to LA 4:0 at home the other. They failed to put together a string of more than two regulation wins at any point, and when everything started to look great after their second straight shutout saw Metro kill the Revs 4:0, proceeded to lose their next four games, all but conceding the second spot in the East to DC. They got some results late to get into the playoffs, and then of course, Rob Johnson tackled Etcheverry, and that was that.
And that was that for Queiroz, who, before the season was over, received an offer from Japan's Nagoya Grampus Eight that was too good to pass up. He informed Metro of his decision, so the season was finished with a lame duck coach. And one wonders what would have happened with a one whose feet weren't out of the door already?
Queiroz's Metro career ended with a .500 league record. He lasted only a year in Japan, and later coached the national teams of the UAE and South Africa, before becoming an assistant manager at Manchester United and a forgettable stint in charge of Real Madrid. It is this recent history with the biggest names in world soccer that lift Queiroz when compared to other coaches in Metro history; but we ask, what exactly did he do with Metro? Not much. And he bailed before the season was over, even if he did finish out the year.
But as we said above, not like the other seven coaches were much better...