May 15, 2012, 8:00 PM EDT
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.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT
Now with Moyes out and Ryan Giggs in as interim manager, the banner has been removed from Old Trafford.
Manchester United have two transfer deals provisionally in place – Cavani, Shaw, Fabregas all on radar
Apr 24, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT
This is all the calm before the storm that will be Manchester United’s summer of 2014.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:52 AM EDT
If van Gaal is appointed United boss, Jose Mourinho will have some competition for best post-match sound in the 2014/15 Premier League.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:59 AM EDT
For Chelsea, the Liverpool match represents, well, a headache, apparently.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT
So bad you have to see it. That’s the only was to describe Spain’s official World Cup anthem.
Apr 24, 2014, 8:08 AM EDT
Where, exactly, Moyes’ future lies next is a topic of some debate.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:36 AM EDT
Mariano Pavone’s first half goal in Toluca delivered La Maquina a record-breaking title.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:56 PM EDT
The Red Bulls’ slow start is quickly becoming a distant memory as New York posted a 4-0 win over visiting Houston.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:26 PM EDT
A future star makes a quick impact as Washington puts week one behind them.
Apr 23, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT
Ronaldo pronounced fit; Benzema breaks through, and Casillas stones Götze.
Apr 23, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Incredible plans to expand Anfield revealed, as public will now have their say:
Apr 23, 2014, 4:51 PM EDT
Tedious Tiki-Taka, counter-attacking clinic and gilt-edge chances:
Apr 23, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
Striker’s 19th minute score gives the nine-time champions a 1-0 lead ahead of next week’s second leg.
Apr 23, 2014, 4:19 PM EDT
Find out who won the PL Player of the Week award, right here:
Apr 23, 2014, 3:36 PM EDT
Which players made the PL team of the week? Find out, right here:
Apr 23, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT
The top two remain unchanged, but there’s a major shakeup in elsewhere near the top of our weekly rankings.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT
Andrew Dykstra wants to brew you a beer, and several teams have specific offerings in mind.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT
The big guns will be firing for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid at the Bernabéu, and there’s plenty of ammunition on both benches if needed.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT
Reports say David Moyes was “seething” at what he perceived to be an unprofessional dismissal from Manchester United.
Apr 23, 2014, 12:52 PM EDT
Bad news for England, as Januzaj is headed for a brand new Belgium kit.
- Manchester United have two transfer deals provisionally in place – Cavani, Shaw, Fabregas all on radar 0
- Chelsea approves Jose Mourinho’s desire to play ‘B Squad’ against Liverpool 1
- David Moyes tipped by Roberto Martinez to make swift return to management 1
- Three things we learned from Real Madrid’s win vs. Bayern Munich 3
- Benzema goal holds up as Real Madrid claim 1-0 lead over Bayern Munich 0
- Major League Soccer Power Rankings – Week 7 3