On Soler's ouster
October 2, 2012
In 17 years of this franchise, we've asked for one thing. Fine, two things. A championship and stability. The first has obviously not been delivered. The second? It's as elusive.
Say what you want about Erik Soler's tenure, but the man made more positive moves than not. From remaking one of the worst teams in league history to a regular season conference title in 2010, to the smart signings of Joel Lindpere, Teemu Tainio and Wilman Conde, to drafting of Tim Ream and Ryan Meara, to the trades for Kenny Cooper and Heath Pearce... Oh, his tenure hasn't been without setbacks, and the trades that yielded and vanquished Dwayne De Rosario will forever me dissected, but overall you have to like the body of work. And seeing where Metro is sitting now, on pace for the largest point-per-game total in its history, and looking like it can do some damage in the playoffs, one can't help but applaud Soler for the team he constructed. We know the bar is low, but he clearly is the best General Manager/Sporting Director in franchise history.
Clearly was, that is. For now Soler is out, with three games left in the regular season. The ousting itself is not so peculiar; Soler was hired by pal Dietmar Beiersdorfer, who has been out at Red Bull since last April. The new head man in charge is Gerard Houllier, and it makes sense that he wants to have his man at the reigns. But the timing seems absurd. Why now? Why not let him finish out the season?
And who will lead from now on? The press release made it clear that Houllier will make all sporting decisions. Yet how wise it is to have that man, with no knowledge of MLS, residing an ocean away? (Not wise AT ALL.) Will he hire someone to be a proxy here? And what will happen to Hans Backe?
Again, say what you want about Backe, but the writing seems to be on the wall. Houllier will likely bring his own man in to coach. And yet it is Backe who has to finish out this season, likely as a lame duck. Why, Red Bull? Why now?
So much for stability...