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Ship's Log, Oct. 10: A day late, a win short

MLS will have at least sixteen coaches that lead a team for at least one match this season.

Last Updated
4 min read
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Two more coaches were let go over the weekend. They couldn't make it to Decision Day. Minnesota United and D.C. United were united in their thoughts that even one more win wouldn't be enough.

D.C. "parted ways" with Rooney after a win. Probably because he's likely to get the Birmingham City gig. But it's also because he's a coach that doesn't win. The win eliminated the team from the playoffs (because they needed help) and left his time in D.C. with a 1.04 ppm record. His time at Derby wasn't any better – just 1.14 as their permanent coach.

For all of Adrian Heath's faults, he did get them to an Open Cup final. He had four decent years after his two horrible seasons to launch the organization. Sticking with Heath helped the Loons in the long term, but they leveled out and then plummeted to earth this year.

Those two make the 12th and 13th coaching changes this season. Two teams are responsible for four of the changes. Both Inter Miami and New England had interim coaches for multiple games who were then replaced by a "permanent hire." And yes, those are scare quotes. Every coach gets fired at some point.

And most teams aren't better for it.

Big spending TFC fired Bob Bradley. Terry Dunfield led them the rest of the way to the Wooden Spoon. It wasn't Phil Neville's (who is rumored for several MLS jobs despite being bad) fault that Inter Miami didn't have talent until August.

The only thing consistent about the teams that replaced their coaches midseason is that they had the opportunity to shop for a new coach sooner – except that so many of them are shopping the list of available and successful coaches with MLS experience is very short – Porter, Nancy, Savarese, Fraser.

What they will all be hoping for is to do what Ben Olsen has done in Houston. With the Dynamo he's playing a fun brand of soccer that looks as good as the Western Conference giants this season.

Longevity on the MLS sidelines is uncommon. Where in grander leagues that's true because of teams being light on patience, in MLS it is likely because the good coaches can move on (Bradley, Berhalter, Arena) or walk away (Porter).

Brian Schmetzer is now the third longest-serving coach. He's served twice as long as number four (Pareja in Orlando) and will never catch Peter Vermes, because Vermes has been a coach longer than Alaska Airlines has sponsored the Timbers.

The day will come when the Seattle Sounders aren't coached by Schmetzer. Some GM and ownership group is going to have to figure out how to not play midway games constantly throwing money at a coach that doesn't make an impact.

Because that's the norm in this league.

Puget Sound Soccer

Reign and Sounders were unable to seize homefield advantage; Defiance season is done – we'll do this quick. There were ghosts in the machine on Monday.

Reign draw 0-0 in front of a massive crowd

They ceded ground to Washington Spirit, but couldn't pull off the finishing moves needed to win. More than 34,000 people said goodbye to Megan Rapinoe.

Sounders held to 0-0 in front of slightly smaller crowd

Seattle could finish with the lowest goals against at home this season. Which bodes well for a team that likely has homefield advantage for a round in the playoffs.

Defiance season ends with 1-0 loss

For a team that had no trouble scoring all season, the home shutout has to hurt. Defiance didn't give up the winner until down a man after a scuffle that resulted in AB Cissoko and an Austin bench player leaving the match.

Looking back at the weekend's news

Alaska Airlines no longer on Timbers' kits; Sharktopus FC

Timbers lose Alaska

If it feels like the Portland Timbers and Alaska Airlines had a long partnership, that's because they did – thirteen years. That ends when the Timbers season ends. Portland can finish as high as 7th and as low as 11th on Decision Day.

Team officials told Oregon Live that there's a new sponsor coming. There's still no word on the sale of the Thorns and the Timbers are one of the many teams that made a coaching change midseason.

Sharktopus FC is the latest Seattle-area amateur side to capture the world's attention

And it's not just because of the left-shark outfits postgame.

The amateur club is making a run towards U.S. Open Cup qualification, and has a fairly famous player – Kwame from Love is Blind is one of their talents. Kwame also plays at times with ECS FC.

Sharktopus is more than just a gimmick name and reality TV. The team as it is now grew out of the height of pandemic restrictions into a local recreational power, now making that run to the Open Cup and just maybe will enter an official D4 USSF league next year. Read more about them at Protagonist Soccer.

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