So yesterday evening I had a brief conversation with someone in MLS who tends to know things. He said that while he doesn’t think anything is brewing quite yet, it would be wrong of DC United supporters to think that Marco Etcheverry has no chance of ending up as the team’s head coach in 2011. He said that Marco actually has a chance.
“El Diablo,” who is currently managing Oriente Petrolero would fit many of GM Kevin Payne’s traditional requirements for staff including a past with DC United and an understanding and appreciation of attacking soccer.
What was really interesting to me was that this person I spoke to never once framed a possible “Diablo” hire in terms of his tactical or management ability. It was all in terms of how this hire might help rejuvenate a depressed fan base and draw a few more fans to RFK Stadium. It would also help to at least increase the team’s national relevance at least a little bit and might serve to just lift the “death grip” [his words] that Will Chang’s lack of finance and the lack of a new stadium hold over the club. But not once did this person ever raise the subject of Etcheverry’s actual ability to manage an MLS club.
But before folks get too excited over the mulleted one returning to RFK as coach, he said that this hire was a hugely risky one for the already beat-up DC front office. Here’s why. If Marco does well and DC improves, than everyone looks like geniuses, fair enough. But if DC struggles, or Marco just doesn’t have what it takes to succeed, the DC organization absolutely, positively couldn’t fire him. The person said how United could not afford to anger the Bolivian community, not after the not entirely amiable departure of Jaime Moreno. He said that no matter how bad things got in DC, the club could never fire him without seeing the bottom drop out of their attendance and goodwill in DC’s Latino community and amongst DC’s supporters in general.
The conversation wrapped up this way:
“If Payne fired the guy, the reaction would be so awful that he might as well just move the team….. But hey, that might happen anyway.”