Is D.C. United head coach Tom Soehn really on thin ice? D.C. is off to a nightmarish 2-6 start which hit a new low on Saturday night when Chivas USA scored three unanswered goals to post a 3-1 victory.
The start is not exactly what the club envisioned when it invested so many resources into signing a crop of new players, including designated player Marcelo Gallardo.
So should Soehn be in danger of losing his job already, just eight games into the season?
I don’t think so.
While he certainly played his part in signing the players the team brought in, and he has been responsible for the lineup decisions this year, Soehn has also had to deal with some major injuries as well as the difficult process of integrating so many new players into the team. This has been made even more difficult because of the absence of injured midfielder Ben Olsen, easily the strongest leader on the roster.
Soehn deserves a full season to sort things out because it has looked at times as if the team’s problems are more a product of having the wrong players rather than the wrong approach or a lack of motivation. D.C. will eventually have Fred back healthy, and will either have Olsen back or a chance to replace him in the summer transfer window. As bad as the start has been this season, we are still talking MLS, where winning and losing streaks happen all the time and you need only look back to last season to find a Houston team that overcame a 2-5-1 start to win an MLS Cup title.
Might D.C. really consider a change in mid-season? I really don’t think so. While the club does have new owners, team president Kevin Payne is still in charge and he hasn’t built his reputation as one of the league’s best executives by making panicked decisions.
Soehn should get a full season to solve the problems the team is facing. If he can’t turn things around, and if the struggles continue all season, then it will be time for a change. The club already has an ideal candidate in the area in former coach Bruce Arena, who looks rested, recharged and ready to get back into the coaching game, but that move can wait.
For now, it is Soehn’s team and he deserves the chance to right the ship.
(What do you think of Soehn’s status at D.C. United? Share your thoughts below.)