May 15, 2012, 8:00 PM EST
Seems like New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe is always “in season.” Seems like the bows, arrows, laterns and pitchforks are always handy where that guy is concerned.
I realize that some of the Swedish manager’s quirky choices make him a slow-moving target for critics wishing to plunk him with their poison pellets.
But the facts say something different. And from the day Backe managed his first match at Red Bull Arena, the team’s structure and organization on the field immediately looked night-and-day different, an improvement what most managers had delivered previously to the highest profile MLS market.
Long story short, Backe has done what so few have before him: established a winning record at a place that, statistically speaking, it’s been darn hard to do.
Past New York managers (with year, record and winning percentage):
Eddie Firmani (1996) 3-5-0 .375
Carlos Queiroz (1996) 12-12 .500
Carlos Alberto Parreira (1997) 13-19 .406
Alfonso Mondelo (1998) 14-17 .452
Bora Milutinović (1998–99) 8-25 .242
Octavio Zambrano (2000–02) 41-37-8 .523
Bob Bradley (2003–05) 32-31-26 .506
Mo Johnston (2005–06) 4-3-8 .533
Bruce Arena (2006–07) 16-16-10 .500
Juan Carlos Osorio (2008–09) 10-11-9 .483
Hans Backe (2010-precent) 32-20-23 .580
In this case the raw data speaks volumes. Backe’s record of 32-20-23 is easily tops among all head coaches. No one else comes close to his .580 winning percentage. (I didn’t include Richie Williams on the list because he was always “interim” head coach, although his record was ultimately a good one.)
Backe’s records have been fairly consistent, too. He was 15-9-6 in 2010 and 10-8-16 last year. This year’s mark (7-3-1) is probably the man’s best work yet, considering the destabilizing effect of injuries tantalizing drama around Red Bull Arena.
Now contrast that shiny record to sentiment that has largely rained on his reign: considering last year’s second-round playoff exit and this year’s sluggish start (one that wasn’t all that bad if you really study the results), perhaps no manager was under as much pressure in late March.
Yes, Backe has the second highest payroll in MLS. But that doesn’t always mean much. Just look at what the top payroll in MLS gets you in 2012: Seventh place in the West, so far.
But if we’re honest, New York always had a leg up in personnel, going back to the early years. That means all those other managers had a head start in terms of talent. And yet, look at those records.
For whatever reason, New York has always been a tough place to earn results.
This is a new day around the franchise; that fancy building certainly helps. Still, Backe must be doing something right. So, remember that next time the laterns and pitchforks come out, as they invariably do.
Because some of those other names on the Red Bulls-exes list, they’re still out there and available.
Mar 4, 2015, 10:51 PM EST
Charlie Austin played well, and the club truly appeared unlucky not to find an equalizer in the 2-1 loss. They were a step off all night.
Mar 4, 2015, 10:00 PM EST
The aggregate loss leaves the Montreal Impact as the lone Major League Soccer hope in the CCL semifinals.
Mar 4, 2015, 9:16 PM EST
The clubs have played in 36 finals, second-most to Real Madrid’s 39.
Mar 4, 2015, 7:58 PM EST
Clearly Nick Mendola’s open letter last night did the trick. You’re all welcome.
Mar 4, 2015, 7:48 PM EST
The short answer is, “Yes. Yes they did.” Manchester United and Newcastle United had two more spits on target than actual goals on Wednesday.
Mar 4, 2015, 7:15 PM EST
Last season a one-hit wonder? Not a chance. D.C. United is here to stay.
Mar 4, 2015, 7:14 PM EST
The USWNT is looking to rebound from the 2014 Algarve Cup, where it finished in 7th after drawing Japan and losing to Sweden and Denmark.
Mar 4, 2015, 6:30 PM EST
Columbus needs to build on last season’s success or see it flutter away in the winds of time. Can they seize the season?
Mar 4, 2015, 6:26 PM EST
Recaps, reaction, analysis, videos and more from all seven games in the PL on Wednesday.
Mar 4, 2015, 6:19 PM EST
And all parties are sounding quite confident, almost in the cavalier “of course we won” tone we heard so much last season.
Mar 4, 2015, 5:52 PM EST
Blues battle to hard-fought win at West Ham, as Mourinho hails his sides display.
Mar 4, 2015, 5:38 PM EST
Manchester United needed a gift from opposing goalkeeper Tim Krul, but Louis van Gaal loved his club’s performance on Wednesday.
Mar 4, 2015, 5:37 PM EST
After their 12th defeat of the season, the Toffees after sinking towards the bottom three.
Mar 4, 2015, 5:10 PM EST
Burnley’s loss leaves them 19th, in the drop zone with 22 points.
Mar 4, 2015, 5:00 PM EST
Swansea sit ninth with 40 points, while Spurs sit 7th place. Tottenham is four points behind No. 5 Liverpool.
Mar 4, 2015, 5:00 PM EST
Potters continue to climb up the table, as Toffees head in the opposite direction.
Mar 4, 2015, 4:53 PM EST
Chelsea stay top after hard-fought win at Upton Park.
Mar 4, 2015, 4:50 PM EST
It’s now five goals from his last five games for the Frenchman.
Mar 4, 2015, 4:43 PM EST
Citizens grind out home win to stay in touch with Chelsea.
Mar 4, 2015, 4:42 PM EST
Jonas was given the all-clear from cancer in November.
- MLS, union come together to avoid calamitous work stoppage 6
- Wednesday’s Premier League roundup: Chelsea, Man City win; six of top seven prevail 0
- Jose Mourinho says his Chelsea team “were brothers on the pitch” in crucial win 0
- West Ham United 0-1 Chelsea: Hazard’s header enough for league leaders (video) 0
- Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Arsenal: Red-hot Giroud helps Gunners to win (video) 0
- Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester United: Krul gaffe spoils Jonas return (video) 4