The Bruce vs. The Augean Stables

Let’s rock this bullet-style:

- Looks like the rumors were true: Bruce Arena took (all) the reins of Red Bull New York this morning. Given the Red Bull’s history (mind you, as the MetroStars; try as they might there are some things you can’t bury), this is a bold, bold move for a man looking to remove some tarnish from his reputation. If he succeeds, though, he’ll have another “famous first” under his belt.

At long last, this is one I’m not fool enough to call. What will happen will happen.

- Naturally, the speculation on the U.S. men’s job continued today. For instance, there’s some guy named Don Cuddy, who writes for Soccer365, forwarding the New England Revolution’s Steve Nicol for the job. Elsewhere, there’s Ives Galarcep who’s entirely convinced we only have to wait out a “decent interval” between Jurgen Klinsmann’s departure from the Germany job before landing him.

If I haven’t done so before in this forum, I’m going to throw one MLS coach’s hat into the ring: DC United’s Peter Nowak. I already went into the reasons for Nowak over Nicol, along with Nowak’s overall credentials, in an email exchange I happened to join a while back; fortunately, I got a reply to one comment earlier today and don’t have to type it all up again:

“I'm a fan of both New England and Steve Nicol, but one really does have to take a hard look at why he's never put a very good Revolution team over the top. They've made the final at least twice under his guidance and came home empty-handed both times. Is that something missing down to Nicol or choking players? Don't know, but the USSF ought to figure that out before signing him.”


“Out of the domestic coaching scene, I'd give Bob Bradley a semi-serious look, in spite of his time with the Metros and Chivas USA's Wednesday night loss to an amateur club. Another name I haven't heard is Peter Nowak, who single-handedly resuscitated DC United from the Thomas Rongen/Ray Hudson years. At present, DC is running away in the MLS standings, they had a solid 2005 and they won it all in 2004 [ed. - his first year as a coach, mind] - all under Nowak. Having played in Germany at (I think) the top level, he's got the 'Euro thing' (tactics, professionalism) down and he's got MLS experience as both player and coach. Overall, he's doing enough that I'd look at him before I looked at Nicol. To top it all off, he's already handled a tricky player situation in Freddy Adu and come out on top (so far; you've got to wonder if Adu wouldn't suddenly like the idea of Ghana if Novak took charge of the U.S.).”

As noted in there, I am genuinely surprised Nowak hasn’t even been mentioned. He seems like a pretty competent coach. One potential drawback, mentioned by one of the correspondents in the thread, is a “racist” incident during Nowak’s coaching tenure in DC.

Here’s a passage on that:

“For the uninitiated, a Feb. 17 scrimmage between Real Salt Lake and D.C. United boiled over when some physical challenges from RSL forward Atiba Harris -- who is black and hails from the Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis -- went unpunished by the referee. According to a statement released by D.C. United general manager Kevin Payne, this development drew the ire of Nowak, who is alleged by the Real Salt Lake bench to have said, ‘Send that guy back to Africa.’"

To reveal (once again) something of an indulgent streak, this was certainly dumb and unsophisticated and so on. But racist? It speaks to a certain attitude toward African players - and not a good one. Even so, Nowak works with a number of black players day-to-day - Jamil Walker, Clyde Simms and some kid named Freddy Adu; if he treats black players differently than the rest, I figured they'd be the first to know about it. Ask them what they think. If they don’t see a problem, I figure this could be massaged into a really stupid slip made in the moment.

- For the rest, there’s the usual stadium/relocation news: MLS officials are off to St. Louis to look into moving a team there if and when everything falls apart in Salt Lake City; the same team has some fella interested in moving the team to bum-fudge nowhere, Utah. I mean no offense intended to the residents of Vineyard, Utah, but check out where that is and read a bit about it here; doesn’t sound promising. Finally, as bullish as he is about the future of soccer in the U.S., Kansas City Wizards/Columbus Crew owner, Lamar Hunt, still has to acknowledge that the KC franchise remains on the edge of moving as well.

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