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.
Sep 16, 2014, 1:29 PM EDT
Manchester United, Aston Villa leap up the list after impressive wins on the weekend.
Sep 16, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT
The jacked-up keeper was released by Hoffenheim last season as his body became too muscular to stand between the sticks (at least according to the club).
Sep 16, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
In a very odd twist, he’s going to stay on as assistant manager to Alex Pastoor, a former assistant.
Sep 16, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT
Know the name Hector Bellerin? Odds are you will after today’s match-up between Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal.
Sep 16, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
With all the post-match fish-and-chips testing done around the Premier League, they couldn’t just, you know, eat fish and chips and get away with it.
Sep 16, 2014, 9:36 AM EDT
Who picked Manchester City to win its tough group, and who said they’d fail to survive their opposition?
Sep 16, 2014, 8:48 AM EDT
How was this caper achieved? Was a security guard in on the act? Was an identical water bottle substituted?
Sep 16, 2014, 7:22 AM EDT
Villa will take on Arsenal without Christian Benteke this weekend, but the forward could be back by the end of the month.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:48 PM EDT
It was a week so fertile for goals that one of the world’s biggest names couldn’t dent the strike force of the PL team of the week.
Sep 15, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT
No one’s doing it quite like this man right now, who again takes hold of player of the week honors in the Premier League.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:37 PM EDT
There are five goals here, but it only took four matches to comprise the list.
Sep 15, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT
Costa Rica won the tournament for the eighth time, defeating Guatemala in the final.
Sep 15, 2014, 8:34 PM EDT
Newcastle United players and their manager have come under fire from ex-Liverpool back Jamie Carragher, who blasted the club on “Monday Night Football”
Sep 15, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT
The Sounders have three titles and won their first win Le Toux. Soccerly hosts an essay on his quest to deny them a fourth.
Sep 15, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT
The English FA asked FIFA to extend Anelka’s quenelle suspension beyond Britain’s borders.
Sep 15, 2014, 5:54 PM EDT
Oktoberfest begins Sept. 20, and 1860 Munich is going all-in when it comes to their away attire.
Sep 15, 2014, 4:53 PM EDT
Abel Hernandez, Enner Valencia, Mohamed Diame and Diafra Sakho all made their presences felt on NBCSN at the KC Stadium on Monday.
Sep 15, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT
Certainly one of the goals of the early season, as West Ham continues to tempt the highlight reels despite a tough start to the season.
Sep 15, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT
Brek Shea had a loan debut to remember, while Julian Green had one to forget and both Tim Howard and Brad Guzan kept clean sheets.
Sep 15, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT
Abel Hernandez has a goal and had another creation ruled offsides as the hosts rose to steal the first half with late heroics.
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