The Daily News’ Filip “King Kong” Bondy (as Peter Vescey used to call him) asks “if a coach is fired and nobody notices, is there really an opening?” But enough about the Washington Nationals, Bondy turns his attentions a vacancy at US National Soccer.
It has now been nearly four months since Bruce Arena (above) was dumped and since the U.S. national soccer team had a head coach. In any other country, such an extended job vacancy would be cause for panic, outrage, intrigue, bewilderment.
Elsewhere, the head coach of the national soccer team is more than a team official. He is a reflection of that nation’s entire ethos, its mood and self-confidence. Was a foreigner imported to stabilize a bad situation? Has a home-grown hero put his sterling reputation on the line? Has he dropped David Beckham from the selection squad? Most important: Who is the guy dating?
In America, however, nobody has noticed this gaping vacuum. The national soccer team basically disappeared after a disappointing World Cup in Germany. It stopped playing exhibitions or meaningful matches, and the only soccer news we get around here is that the local MLS team – by any name – remains a study in hopeless mediocrity.
Though Bondy’s main point — that a supposed soccer power (and we’re really stretching things here) would rightfully be expected to have a new manager in place, Canada have had a similar vacancy since Frank Yallop quit to take over the L.A. Galaxy last June. European national sides that deposed managers over the summer had good reason to move fast — Euro 2008 qualifying began shortly after the end of the World Cup. For Team USA, where’s the fire?
When I think of QPR, Crystal Palace and the rarely uttered phrase “six goal thriller,” I usually recall the ‘R’s 6-0 destruction of the Eagles on the very last day of the 1999 Division One season, a result that saved the Super Hoops from relegation (for a year, at least). In more contemporary terms, yesterday’s 4-2 result at Loftus Road dropped the visitors to 20th place in the Championship. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer chairman.