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Frank Yallop’s dismissal at San Jose makes no sense

Jun 8, 2013, 2:32 PM EDT

San Jose Earthquakes v Chivas USA Getty Images

If we had listed the Major League Soccer managers in trouble after 14 weeks, Frank Yallop would barely be in the conversation.

It seems utterly perplexing that the San Jose Earthquakes management would dismiss Yallop – and yet that remarkable thing happened yesterday.

The players certainly weren’t expecting it. Chris Wondolowski, the league’s top scorer over the last three seasons, told that he was left “speechless” by Friday’s stunning development. “No one saw it coming. That was literally the last thing we [expected],” he said.

Start with the fact that San Jose is fresh off winning the Supporters Shield, maning that San Jose had the league’s top record a year ago (19-6-9).

Eighth place among nine this year with a 3-6-6 mark is certainly not where anyone around Buck Shaw wants to be. (Especially since the Earthquakes have played more matches than most teams in the West.)

But are things really that bad? Especially considering so many injuries early in the year for Yallop’s men?

Yallop needed a good year in 2012 after missing the playoffs three of the previous four seasons. In all honesty, firing him after 2011 would have seemed justified. Again, missing the playoffs three times out of four, given Major League Soccer’s forgiving post-season structure, is fairly damning stuff.

But they didn’t fire Yallop then – and that’s the point. They kept him around, and the man rewarded that organizational faith by losing just six times over 34 matches. That’s an impressive number. In fact, there were a bunch of them in 2012.

They performed with a flourish, too, scoring tons of goals along the merry way. San Jose set a new franchise record for goals scored with 72, which was also the third highest total in MLS history. (And the most since D.C. United struck for 74 in 1998.)

Yes, they lost in the conference semifinals – but they lost to the Galaxy, the eventual champs, a team performing at top rev by the end of last season. It was no sin to fall to Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Omar Gonzalez and the rest – just as it was no sin for Vancouver, Seattle or Houston to be vanquished by a high quality Galaxy side.

Teams that fire managers at odd times (like Vancouver did so early in Teitur Thordarson first season two years ago) deserve extra scrutiny going forward. Because it looks like they don’t have a plan. Or if they do have a plan, they might be making it up as they go along.

  1. Jacob - Jun 8, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Pretty embarrassing move by the organization, just feels like a knee-jerk move because the team is not performing well.

  2. jerichowhiskey - Jun 8, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Best guess is they do not trust Yallop to turn things around in time for CCL.

  3. mkbryant3 - Jun 8, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    I’m thinking that there was a meeting and things got emotional for some reason then Yallop walked. Sort of a snowball effect.

  4. teamperkins11 - Jun 8, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    The interesting piece of the dismissal is that it was “mutual”. I have no inside knowledge, but this to me seems like they walked into a meeting to decide the course of the year and realized they were on polar opposites of the spectrum. The concern for SJ fans is what side of the debate was Doyle on? Did he want to bring back Dawkins or some other high level talent to elevate the teams play or was he the one who wanted to stand pat? Very interesting situation to say the least.

  5. talgrath - Jun 9, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    San Jose’s last season was a bit of a fluke, they didn’t have many injuries and almost none to anyone important; in the previous years they were always a bit below average. The thing is, San Jose being a bit below average makes sense, they spend below average and have just one designated player (Wondolowski), expecting championship-caliber work out of a weaker than average line-up is ridiculous.

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