|Photo by Matt Kremkau
As the New York Soccer media attended the exit interviews at Red Bull Arena, we were met by Head of Sport Jochen Schneider as he discussed the season overall. He was happy with the fight after the coaching change from Gerhard Struber to Troy Lesesne after their disastrous start to the season. They earned nine points after playing eleven matches and of course, we all know the situation with Dante Vanzeir. But when Lesesne took over you saw the changes being made and how he brought back the fight within the club.
Yet at the end of the day, it wasn't so much what Troy did wrong to be let go from the hard work he did to bring them back to the playoffs, destroying Charlotte FC, but unfortunately to get knocked out of the opening round to FC Cincinnati in the playoffs. The feeling from Schneider was that he and the head of Red Bull Global Soccer President Mario Gomez decided to make a reset for the 2024 season. They felt the club needed to be refreshed and improved for the 2024 season.
But who deserves the credit for this idea? Who are the ones that need to be congratulated? Who deserves the pat on the back for making this monumental decision by Schneider & Gomez? Well to all of you who pay your hard-earned money for season tickets, merchandise sales, food sales, sing and cheer your hearts and throats for this club? Why it's you the fans, and those in the Supporters Section in the South Ward that also did the best thing to inform your displeasure by putting up a single sign.
"Looking now into the 2024 season, we all agree that we have to improve the product on the pitch. We need to get better. I remember our great fans in the South Ward one day holding up a banner saying “Just not good enough”. Sometimes fans have the best feeling for the situation. Looking back, the moment you see that, you think “I don’t really like that”. But I'm looking back now to say, they were completely right. We need to get better. We need to raise our standards. We need to ask for more. That's what I expect from our players."
I understand it's not easy to hear or read the signs that are criticizing your hard work to make the club what it should be, but sadly the direction it went after the end of the Jesse Marsch era has been a bit stale and even though there were some decent performances last year, it all started to crumble in 2023. This club that has developed brilliant talent within its academy sadly has failed to bring in quality veterans during transfer windows to upgrade any holes that need to be filled or improved properly to finally win a championship.
The closest they came to getting into that championship final of any kind was last year's US Open Cup Semi-Finals, when they fell to Orlando City five goals to one, by getting destroyed in the second half. The injuries have also plagued the club this year with the unfortunate end of the season with Lewis Morgan going down. Then Vanzeir had a horrible fall that injured his back against Austin FC, poor marking and switching off at the wrong time also doomed them.
Whoever is available (And yes we are reporting the German newspaper BILD's article on Sandro Schwarz being rumored of getting the job) I hope both Gomez & Schneider will take all the time in the world to get both the Sporting Director and Head Coaching decision correct and not rush into a hasty decision. No matter what rumors are being brought to light, take your time and make sure the coaches who are currently available in the pool will be the right ones to make this reset strong and improve the play starting next season.
But let me say job well done to all of you in the South Ward, and to all the fans for expressing yourselves toward the front office. This is the reason why we here in the New York/New Jersey area are the best sports fans in the country. All of us will let them know what is wrong and why they see the problems in a bigger picture than they do. So day one was to unfortunately say goodbye to Troy Lesesne and his assistant Zach Prince. The next day was to inform the media and the fans why these moves were made, and now comes the planing to make good on those decisions. Let's see what they do during the off-season.