Whitecaps wrong to fire Thordarson and Salmon

May 30, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2011 | 3 Comments

The Whitecaps front office made a big mistake today in firing our head coach Teitur Thordarson and goalkeeping coach Mike Salmon.

There is no doubt the club needed to make a change, but simply making change for change’s sake is not going to help.  Blaming the coach is the easiest thing for the front office to do.  The right change to make was not to the coaching staff, but to the playing staff. The Whitecaps playing squad needs bolstering and tweaking.  If the Whitecaps think Director of Soccer Operations Tommy Soehn is going to do a better job than Teitur with this same squad of players they are dreaming in Technicolor.

Teitur Thordarson: he deserved more time

The guy who was in charge of recruiting our Major League Soccer team has now been rewarded with its head coaching job.  If you are scratching your head you are not alone!  If Soehn had been fired I would be applauding now.

The fact is it takes time to develop a good football team.  The Whitecaps record thus far is one win, five losses and six ties.  No doubt this is a poor record, and we do sit at the bottom of our conference, but the fact is we have been competitive in every game.  It is not as though we have been blown out time after time by clearly superior opposition.  To me this says tweak the squad and buy a few more good players rather than fire the coach.

What the Whitecaps need is some playmakers, not a different gaffer.

Thordarson was a surprise appointment for the 2008 season, but soon impressed Whitecaps fans by gloriously winning the 2008 USL championship.  In 2009 he took a clearly inferior squad to the USL final again, only to lose to Montreal.  In 2010 he took us to the semi-final to be beaten by the ultimate champions, Puerto Rico.  During this time we supporters have loved having Teitur as our head coach.  As a fan I liked and admired Teitur, and I must say I am bitterly disappointed with the front office for doing this.

While Tommy Soehn has MLS experience, is he anywhere near as good technically as a coach as Thordarson?  I certainly don’t think so.  I really don’t expect to see a bump in performance.  I could understand if Teitur was being dumped for someone who was clearly superior, but Soehn simply does not have that kind of pedigree.

In my view Thordarson had the ability to take this club forward in the years to come, if the team signed quality players.  The fact is in football you get the results you pay for as far as playing staff are concerned.  You can’t expect the manager make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  We have the money to sign some better players and results will not follow until we do just that.

Because of the impatience of the front office, we now risk floundering about for the rest of the season, and perhaps for the next few years, like TFC has done.  Thordarson should have been given to the end of the season to turn things around.  Remember how Manchester United stuck with Alex Ferguson early on in his reign when everyone around the club was baying for his blood?

The firing of Mike Salmon is also a mystery.  It is not as though goalkeeping has been our problem.  Perhaps the team had intended for Joe Cannon to start matches once he recovered from his ankle injury. Perhaps the size of his salary at more than $200,000 a year made the front office angry that he was riding the pines while a relatively inexperienced keeper started all the matches but one. Look for Nolly to be on the bench and Joe Cannon to start Wednesday.  Perhaps Teitur and Salmon came as one package from the Arsenal connection with Arsene Wenger.

Mike Salmon: made Jay Nolly what he is today

There is no doubt Teitur must take his share of the blame for our record.  The role Teitur had in selecting the squad we now have may be the key to his firing.  If this was Tietur’s squad, he had to live or die by that squad.  But it is Soehn who I understand to be in charge of scouting and recruitment.  If Teitur argued strongly for keeping players in the squad that have simply not panned out at the MLS level, this is the only rationale I can imagine for his firing.  If Soehn had the last word on squad players in his role of Director of Soccer Operations, then we are just jumping from the frying pan into the fire.  Perhaps Soehn has his own ideas of who to bring in to strengthen the squad, or new ideas about who should be sitting and who should be starting.   We will see on Wednesday when the team plays Chivas in L.A.

I feel the Whitecaps have scored a couple of own goals here.  It is indeed a sad day.

As for Teitur, we owe him a debt of gratitude for giving us a triumphant championship in 2008 and a winning record overall with the club.  We will miss you, Teitur Thordarson.   We will miss Mike Salmon, who also coached in the 2008 championship season.     Mike can count himself a success in making Jay Nolly what he is today.

We fans will always remember the contribution of two great coaches.


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  1. Hi, I am afraid i disgaree with you (as you may have anticipated from my previous comments). In any business (sport of otherwise) the person who takes on the and executive leadership role of people is responsible for their performance (no excuses). If they do well you are successful and are rewarded, if you fail you are fired. I have faced this myself and to make things more intertesting it was “if the product and team you lead is successful great, if not then you and 300 people are fired (luckily it was successful).

    The fact that the team was competitive sould just as easily reflect the fact that the talent was there but the coach was just not able to get the results. He was a great guy, brought us a championship in 2008 but at 1 win and Portland tearing up the league “tweaks” are not what was needed. Again my stance is the same as a min we must win 7 games and have 30 pts of more people at a higher mgmnt level must go.

    People say watch out we may end up like TFC, as a season tickey holder i am willing to take that risk.

    As for the Goaltending coach, i suspect he was close to Tietur,let that be known in the organization and hence had to go.

  2. If what RHM says is correct, then someone in an executive position should have gone, not the head coach. Instead an executive gets the coach’s job. It was unfair to say the least to fire Teitur when he has not had the consistency of availability of the best players through injuries and international calls. We obviously need more creativity in midfield and the effort should be made to correct that problem and leave the coach in for the rest of the season and then assess his capabilities with respect to further employment.


    • Hi, the first to go is always the Project/Program Managers (eg coaches in this case). The higher up executives are next if there is no turn around however i expect player releases to happen first.

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