Officially in a January press conference, former DC United player and assistant coach Curt Onalfo will be named the new DC United Coach.
There are some United followers who are disappointed in DC United's selection of Onalfo and I am one of them, but not for the reasons that many supporters are disappointed. Some commnetators worry that Onalfo doesn't have the chops to make it as DC's coach based on his performance in Kansas City. I tend to give Onalfo the benefit of the doubt on this matter. I think at KC he had some personnel issues, i.e. lack of attacking talent and then some injury problems. I think though that he was on the right track in KC, but needed probably another season with healthy players and a couple of good acquisitions for attackers. But alas for Onalfo, that was not to be. In DC, Onalfo will not be begging for attacking talent, no his problem will be on the defensive side of things.
Rather my disappointment with the Onalfo selection has nothing to do with the man himself, but with the lack of creativity DC United showed with this process. DC United has one of the best front office staffs in the League and they know how to identify players, and work the salary cap. Why not bring in a coach from outside the MLS fraternity to push the envelope of soccer in America. Kevin Payne said that they wanted a coach that had ties to the tradition of attacking soccer in DC. But why do you need someone with ties to DC to promote attacking soccer.
There are coaches out there in the world, coaches with a background in attacking soccer who can introduce something new to the league, something few coaches have ever seen and would give DC a real leg up in the coming years, combining excellent knowledge with terrific talent. With Payne and the rest of the DC United front office, I think the inevitable hiccups that come with a non-MLS coach would be minimized.
But DC United went with a safe coach. I don't think Onalfo will do a bad job--it is just that DC United could have done a much better job by selecting a coach outside the MLS circles. This league cries out for that change and it may be New York (ugh) that makes that move.