Categorized | Also Noted

Has the coaching change made a difference for the Red Stars?

Posted on 14 July 2010 by mwkajdas

Two months ago, the Red Stars fired Emma Hayes, their coach of one and a quarter seasons and replaced her with their current coach, Omid Namazi. Despite building a team that, for the most part, dominated play against its opponents, especially in the second halves of games, the complaint against Hayes was that her team was not only not winning enough games but it was not scoring very many goals either. So has the Red Stars new coach solved the two problems that plagued the tenure of Emma Hayes?

On first glance, it would seem to be the case. In the first six games of this season under Emma Hayes, the Red Stars compiled a record of 1-4-1 and scored three goals while allowing 6. In their first seven games under new coach Omid Namazi, the Red Stars compiled a record of 2-1-4 and scored 6 goals (plus an own-goal from Sky Blue) while allowing 5.

However, the more things have changed, the more they have also stayed the same. Under Emma Hayes, the Red Stars’ lone victory was a 2-0 win over the Boston Breakers, currently the second worst team in the league. Omid Namazi’s two wins were a 2-1 victory over the same Boston team plus a 2-0 win over a Sky Blue team that was missing four of its players due to national team duty. Moreover, Emma Hayes’ squad lost to teams that were ranked above them in the league standings—Sky Blue FC, FC Gold Pride and the Philadelphia Independence. She did not stay on the job long enough to have the “luxury” of playing a single game against the Atlanta Beat, owner of the worst-ever record in WPS history. Omid Namazi, on the other hand, has played Atlanta three times already, earning two draws and the distinction of being the only team in WPS to lose to the Beat.

But the most important measure of a team’s progress is their place in the league standings. After six weeks of play, Omid Namazi’s Red Stars still remain ensconced in fifth place, out of playoff qualification, despite his taking over the job just after interim coach, Marcia McDermott, spotted him three points with a win over league-leading FC Gold Pride. In post-game press conferences, Namazi’s words still conjure up the ghost of Emma Hayes as he continually expresses frustration at the lack of finishing by his team’s forwards, calling out Cristiane in particular after the July 7th game. Of the six goals scored by the Red Stars since Namazi took over, four have come from Ella Masar instead of the high-priced Brazilian forward.

So did the Red Stars make the right move to change coaches so soon after the start of the season? Or is their real problem a lack of chemistry between Cristiane and the rest of the players on the pitch? The Red Stars play their next game July 21st at Atlanta for their fourth meeting with the Beat this year. Let’s see if Cristiane can prove her worth in that game and if the Red Stars can finally rack up at least one win against the last-place team in the league.

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