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Earthquakes officially appoint Kinnear as head coach, dismiss Watson


 Photo by Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports



Dominic Kinnear is officially heading back to coach the San Jose Earthquakes.

The Earthquakes announced Wednesday that the current Houston Dynamo head coach has been hired to the same position in San Jose, where he’ll take over at the conclusion of the 2014 MLS season. The Earthquakes added that they’ve parted ways with head coach Mark Watson and assistant coach Nick Dasovic, effective immediately, and that assistant coach Ian Russell will serve as interim manager for the final two matches of the season.

Kinnear, meanwhile, will remain as coach of the Dynamo until the regular season concludes.

During his nine years with the Dynamo, Kinnear racked up a number of accolades, all while turning his squad into a fierce side known for making strong late-season runs into the playoffs. Kinnear led the Dynamo to back-t0-back MLS Cup championships in 2006 and 2007, and the team lost to the LA Galaxy in the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup final. In nine years the team made the playoffs seven times.

Kinnear began his coaching career with the Earthquakes in 2001 as an assistant. The Scottish-born, American-raised coach was promoted to head coach in 2004 and led the team to the Supporter’s Shield just one year later.

What do you think of the hire? What moves does Kinnear have to make to improve the Earthquakes?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Great move for the Quakes, after nine years, balance has been restored to the force.

    I’m not worried about Doyle mucking this up…Dom will get what he wants.

    So how long before Davis follows him?

    I’m calling it now, Stu to SJ within two years…

  2. I am looking forward to seeing the Earthquakes get a fresh start. Dominic Kinnear is the right man. He is from here, and he’ll serve the Earthquakes well. I am looking forward to watch smiling faces when they play. It was so obvious that things were not right in the last two years. It was not fun watching a team with so much spirit turn into what it is now. There were players that were let go that should not have been let got. They kept players who were weak and bought players that were injury-prone and weak because of that. I hope there will be new players that have a little more fight in them than we have seen during the last season.

  3. honestly mls needs new coaches and earthquakes are making a mistake witt kinnear.
    why not get a championship coach with an mls coach.
    hopefully mls doesn’t become like ligamx with the same coaches going aroun like hot potatoes and ligamx has mexicans, columbians, argentines and even some brazilian coaches.

    • Given the charitable way we let DeRo and others leave, I doubt it. Which is honorable in a way. But perhaps we should have held out for some Tuna/Belichick compense. You want my coach you can trade me for him. Not inappropriate. DK certainly negotiated for what he wanted in SJ. Why can’t we.

      • He traded away the MVPs of 2011 and 2012 for Julius James, Cam Weaver, and allocations (the infamous L.A. Landin).

        The more pointed argument, to me, is he failed to convert the promise of the King of the Reserve League into a first team player. He then blew the roof off of SJ.

      • Good point, did not ever get Wondo consistent time first team.

        I thought there was no more speaking of chubby man to not be named…

      • We’ll probably give you the cash we got from LA for Soccer Jesus (aka Alan Gordon). A perfect example of a ‘nice bit of business’ from John Doyle!

  4. How about J. Doyle? Not sure why he get’s to keep his job. Over the last five years there have been countless bad moves by Doyle. He brought in so many no-name, cheap Caribbean players who did nothing to improve the product on the field. I agree that most MLS clubs are continuously improving the product on the field. The Earthquakes, unfortunately, are not one of these teams.

    • Doyle is a poor GM, for sure. But I’m kinda tired of this club in general.

      Lew Wolf is cheap and couldn’t care less.

      The whole front office is garbage. Can’t expect much from a franchise when: 1. they can’t locate a bomb bunker under a proposed $100M stadium site, and 2. the President, Dave Kaval, cites mid-table EPL teams like Stoke as inspiration for their product.

      And the Kinnear hire fits this “vision” perfectly. The Imperative Voice nailed it.

      Kinnear is Yallop with a better hair cut. No imagination in movement, bunker, punt ‘n pray, and hope for set pieces. Dom has a great record and will bring discipline, but it’s the same sleepy style SJ fans have seen for years.

      Is Sac in MLS yet…?

      • I don’t get why Kaval doesn’t take more heat from the supporters. I get the new stadium is a big deal, and it looks like it will be a great venue for all intents and purposes, but his refusal to spend money on player discovery or big money to lure DPs outside of Wondo is so frustrating. It’s not as if the Quakes have a system like SKC or RSL in place. Maybe that’s the hope with Dom. Hopefully a sponsorship deal loosens the purse strings…

      • I assumed Kaval’s responsibilities are purely on the business side: stadium, marketing etc. I am under the impression that Doyle has full authority to make personnel decisions: DPs and, to an extent, approving player development schemes.

    • The season is not over and I will be interested what happens once DK gets his office keys and takes stock. The decision may wait until DK assesses whether they can work together and how well he’s done his job. There might also be conflict of interest issues in DK making personnel decsions for SJ while still coaching us. Something could happen after regular season is over.

  5. He did so well in Houston, and really helped establish that team in the city. The transition to Texas could have been a mess, but Dom hit the ground running. Didn’t hurt that his team was already a Shield winner going into their first season.

    I wish all of this could have waited until after the season was “officially” over, especially for Watson. I realize he didn’t get the job done, but sheesh, it’s just two more games. Dom won’t even be there for another two or three weeks…

  6. I expect for many of the Dynamo fanboys to be upset, he won twice many years ago with much more loaded temas ergo change is unnecessary. Except the fanboys’ girlfriend just left them, moaning that you’ll never meet someone as good is lame and no way to live life.

    The fact that we missed the playoffs means at least 10 (currently 12) other teams achieved better results with their coaches. More than half. This has happened twice in the past 5 years. When it happens it is generally that the team is a mess from day one. This tem was built with a sputtering offense starting a converted midfielder up top (for the second straight year), and a slow defense even Beasley could not save.

    This year’s team was the result of flawed personnel choices in front and back. The selection of those players has been a steady, purposeful build. He scanned the horizon of the world’s players and said, I want Brunner, Horst, and Cummings. I want to build a team around Bruin and Ashe. I want to bring in Garrido even though that position is double or triple parked and our short term playoff needs lied elsewhere. He failed to address the frontline and the CBs that doomed the team.

    He was a strong system coach but increasingly his system was not good or modern enough to win the trophies, because it was manned by too many journeymen and lucky to make the finals they then lost. When we would make the final we would lack the firepower up top to compete with Landon and Keane, and our defense was not quite good enough to pitch the required shutout. A decent concept but no longer a winning one, in a bigger league that plays faster ball and more on the ground.

    We have settled for less and less because the coach once gave us more. That is contradictory and let’s be real, the era is over.

    The team needs a game manager who is more of a player magnet, a more attacking approach if we intend to emerge from a 20 team league (either that or you go CFC and the defense better be studs), and the checkbook also needs to come out if we want to win. The status quo was no longer doing it and the fans who want a winner deserve better. The fanboys who prefer to Trust in Dom will disagree, but then that wasn’t winning trophies anymore.

    • There also needs to be more use of secondary players and development of young players. The lack of developmental focus placed increasing pressure on successive veteran classes which became hit and miss.

    • I always thought the same about Dom. Credit to him for helping grow the league and all that, good guy, but he inherited a lot of solid players in their prime: De Ro, Davis, Chingy, Mulrooney, Mullan, and a few others I’m forgetting. I’m not too thrilled about this move, or the way it’s happening.

      • If you look back at the glory years, the whole starting XI would be all or almost all internationals. Granted, some were marginal, but they were good enough to get capped. That has dwindled down to Garcia, Davis, Taylor, and Beasley, with some other people who have made camps as roster filler. Kinnear at some point either became less effective at pulling league strings, or lost the plot in terms of the quality needed from veteran recruitment. The team became less talented and more dependent on concept and effort. It might be a playoff pillar — when he got the mix ok — but it no longer won. It became a xerox of a xerox.

    • Nice job forgetting the other two trips to MLS Cup in ’11 and ’12, the 4 conference championships and 6 trips to the playoffs in that same 8 years. Yeah, he was terrible and doesn’t know how to build a team or what he is doing. The two years he didn’t make the playoffs were World Cup years 2010 and 2014. He lost Dwayne DeRosario, Stuart Holden, Geoff Cameron, and Ricardo Clark all during that time, but still managed to put competitive teams out on the field.

      I agree that Dom Kinnear is somewhat worshipped in Houston, and I don’t agree with it. He has made plenty of mistakes, but if you don’t see this as almost an absolute loss for the Dynamo, you are delusional.

      • We just missed the playoffs for the second time in five years. We have not won since 2007. His value has eroded.

        We went from knowing how to make a winner to knowing how to slap enough veterans together to make a playoff run. The “almosts” you cite have become a replacement for the actual trophies, an erosion in expectations. “Nice try,” indeed.

        Citing MLS Cups and Conference Championships is double bookkeeping. You win one you make the other. And the problem is that while plucky Houston has made the final twice since 2007, both times it looked overmatched in the final, unable to score more than a goal or to hold LA for 90.

        He’s a solid MLS coach — though perhaps less useful as the league expands and quality improves beyond what a simple 442 kickball system can do — but Dynamo fanboys such as yourself have come to love the intangible ethos and glory of almost doing it, instead of the true undeniable feel of what a trophy is like.

      • Part of the problem in Houston is a Trust Dom ethos where the coach’s poor choices were not accountable. 2010 was a result of poor choices. So was this season. They are as much Dom as 2007-2008. He loves his veterans. When handed good vets he builds good teams. If he has a blind spot of an offseason, the team is horrible. There was no development ethos to offset the years he didn’t get the veterans right. If Cameron or Holden showed up ready to play, he used them. But if a player needed work, he generally rusted away before being cut a year or two later. The overall talent level dropped from when they were in SJ and the teams became increasingly plucky collections of some talent but lots of mediocrity and castoffs. And if you tried to tell anyone it was the coach knows what he’s doing. Well, when’s the last time he did it enough to win a title? 7 years ago. When they put in the allocation rules and such he lost his returning player pipeline from abroad, and fewer and fewer of his veteran signings played out as well…..perhaps because the core to which they were added itself eroded. There is no longer a core of Ching/ DeRo/ Davis/ Clark/ Mullan/ ERob/ Onstad that all teams would kill for. It’s mostly lunchpailers who play a system. And not well enough anymore.

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