Jason Kreis was never on the hot seat. As easy as it was to believe he was, and that he should be fired for Orlando City’s horribly poor summer, Kreis was the coach and that wasn’t going to change.
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão said the chances that Kreis is the coach next season are at “100 percent,” guaranteeing the 44-year-old will be on the sidelines when the Lions open up the 2018 regular season next March, barring something unforeseen.
It’s been a rough summer for Kreis, who has seen his team, which entered May as one of the best teams in the league, fall out of the playoff picture. Orlando City is all but certain to miss out on playoff soccer for the third season in a row, remaining the only MLS franchise outside of expansion side Minnesota United to not have any postseason appearances. The Lions have just one home win since May 31 at Orlando City Stadium, a place that was supposed to be a fortress for the team.
The calls for Kreis’ job began early in the summer, mostly through bot accounts, but had quickly grown over time after every point dropped.
“We’ll be shocked if Kreis is the coach on Monday.” Boy, were a lot of people shocked after each and every week that was tweeted.
Now the doubt is gone and we can focus on 2018, when the pressure will really be on.
It was never going to be a quick fix for Kreis. He took over a bad roster last July, there’s no denying that. The club made some improvements during the off-season, and even though on paper it became stronger, nobody outside of Florida expected the team to be a legitimate contender. While the first two months of the season seemed to prove all of those people wrong, they actually turned out to be right.
The Lions stink. Last season, the team couldn’t keep the ball out of the net, but this year it can’t put it in itself. Sure, you can attempt to blame the coach on that, but it mostly comes down to not having quality distributors and play makers in the midfield to set up the front line players like Cyle Larin and Dom Dwyer.
Kreis said it a few weeks after acquiring Dwyer, the goal this season was to keep building for 2018 and beyond, when the coaching staff and front office would have had enough time to actually make the right moves through transfer windows. Those things take time, not just the two windows Kreis has had so far.
You can’t build a winner overnight, at least not in MLS. Example: Toronto FC.
Maybe you don’t like Jason Kreis for his tactics or his general attitude, or whatever, but the fact of the matter is that you can’t expect a coach to magically turn things around overnight with the snap of a finger. You need to set that foundation, give it time to grow and build into something real. Changing the coach every year and a half is as one step forward, two steps back as it gets, and that’s not good for anybody.
They have a plan, and Kreis was signed to see it through. There will be plenty of money coming off the books this winter, giving Kreis and the front office staff room to bring in more guys to fit his preferred 4-4-2 diamond formation, which the team doesn’t really have at the moment.
Kreis is not going anywhere this season, and at the very least, he’ll be around to guide this club into 2018.
For right now, common sense prevailed.