MLS Spotlight: Warzycha Firing Too Late and Perfectly Timed for Crew

Robert Warzycha Crew Fired

BY CHRISTIAN ARAOS
Staff Writer

In a weird way, the arrival of Anthony Precourt was a blessing for Robert Warzycha insofar that he received a temporary stay of execution because the prison got a new warden.

It had become apparent that Warzycha’s time with the Columbus Crew was running out as this season wore on. In the ten games before Precourt took over as owner, the Crew went 2–1–7, falling out of the playoff race in the East. In the five games since, 2–0–3.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that luckluster form as grounds for dismissal – especially for a club looking to be interesting and competitive again.

That will have to happen next year since the Crew waited too long to pull the plug on Warzycha. Whether or not the ownership change had an impact on that does not matter. No one had the guts to get rid of a lame duck and it cost a decent team it’s place in a wide open race. After all, if the Chicago Fire and the Philadelphia Union can remain in the race at Labor Day then the Columbus Crew could have been there too.

The reason the Crew failed to pull the plug is a little more complex than the fact they had an ownership change. It’s one of the reasons that will hold back any big change at any institution; loyalty and heritage. Warzycha is a Crew icon who was with the team from it’s start as a player who moved into the backroom and then to manager. His loyalty to the franchise cannot be questioned and Columbus has a solid history of soccer on a variety of levels (next Tuesday should give you proof of that).

But heritage can hold you back. That is why the timing was also right for Warzycha to go now. If the Crew were set on truly starting anew, much like the Portland Timbers did last season, then they effectively had to scrap this season. They did that while waiting to fire Warzycha. It is obvious Brian Bliss wants the job and whether or not he deserves it is not the topic of discussion. What is the topic of discussion is if Bliss fits into Precourt’s plans to make the Crew relevant again.

Precourt wants to start a new era at Columbus and choosing to fire Warzycha is a good way to get off on the right foot. The timing of it unfortunately delayed both the actual start of the new era and ruined Columbus’ chances of competing this season; a disappointment given just how competitive the East is this year.

But it’s best to not be myopic when it comes to personnel decisions. That is ultimately the case here.

The Crew will now have some time to assess Brian Bliss in a coaching capacity, determine if he should remain as coach or go out and find a new permanent coach. From there, they can make the appropriate player moves and start the franchise’s turnaround.