Alexi Lalas says Jesse Marsch’s departure from Leeds will damage the reputation of American soccer after the coach was sacked on Monday after less than a year on the job.
Marsch was dismissed a day after Leeds beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 to leave the team above the relegation zone on goal difference, level on points with 18th-placed Everton. Leeds have often played well under Marsch but have failed to convert positive displays into points and now face a battle to retain their Premier League status.
Former USA international Lalas responded to Marsch’s exit on Twitter, writing: ‘Fair decision to sack Jesse Marsch. But his failure also gives ammunition to those looking to criticize the quality of American coaches (and American soccer).
‘It’s a constant battle for credibility, on and off the field. But it comes with the territory. Onward and upward.’
Marsch signed three USA internationals at Leeds in Tyler Adams, Brendan Aaronson and Weston McKennie – who only joined last week and made his debut as a substitute against Forest. He also appointed American coach Chris Armas to his staff just two weeks ago.
Jesse Marsch was sacked as Leeds coach on Monday with the team 17th in the Premier League
Adams signed Tyler Adams – the USA captain – in one of three American transfers to Leeds
Alexi Lalas said Marsch’s departure from Leeds could damage the reputation of American soccer
When Marsch arrived at Leeds in February last year, he said the Ted Lasso television series had not helped his own reputation as an American in soccer. However, Lalas denied a suggestion from a follower that the show had stopped Marsch.
‘I think Ted Lasso clearly relies on stereotypes of Americans, American coaches, and American soccer…because it makes good TV,’ Lalas said. ‘But it doesn’t hurt American soccer. Ted Lasso had nothing to do with the firing of Jesse Marsch. We (Americans) can laugh at ourselves.’
Lalas also supported Marsch as a candidate to become the USA coach. The vacancy comes after Gregg Berhalter’s contract expired amid an investigation into a domestic violence incident during his teenage years with his now-wife, which was leaked to US Soccer by the parents of USA international Gio Reyna.
‘I think Jesse Marsch definitely and deserves to be on any short list of candidates for #USMNT coach,’ Lalas said. ‘His appeal comes largely from his experience in Europe, where he had mixed results.’
Former United States international Taylor Twellman, meanwhile, said: ‘Everton’s result against Arsenal this weekend (a 1-0 win) convinced Leeds United to make this move.
‘It’s about survival and results. Yes, Leeds played better than Forest at the weekend but they lost and that was the bottom line. $40m spent in the transfer window and he got 1 game. Just the truth unfortunately.’
Another former USA international Herculez Gomez sympathized with Marsch.
‘Haven’t won in over 3 months in the Premier League. (7 straight) 3 pts from last place in a league where 6 points separate 14th and 20th. They lacked finishing recently, but this team gave up too much,’ said Gomez.
Meanwhile, NBC analyst Robbie Mustoe tweeted: ‘WOW!!! I didn’t see that coming so quickly. Wonder how McKennie is feeling?? TOO EASY Leeds.’
Stu Holden, the former USA midfielder and Bolton player in the Premier League, said on Sunday night that he was concerned for the future of Marsch’s Leeds.
‘About the trend for Leeds and Jesse Marsch,’ he wrote. ‘Long periods of dominant games without a cutting edge and conceding poor goals. Right in the middle of a relegation battle and Jesse’s margin for error is shrinking.’
Leeds take on Manchester United in their next two Premier League games, the first at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Leeds backed Marsch in the January transfer window – spending club record Georginio Rutter for $38.5million and recruiting United States midfielder McKennie from Juventus on loan, but with a view to a $30m permanent deal if he stays Leeds in the Premier League.
Marsch brought in Armas to join his coaching team and his status is currently unclear – Leeds’ statement confirming Marsch’s departure on Monday made no mention of him.
Leeds said: ‘Leeds United can confirm that head coach Jesse Marsch has been relieved of his duties.
‘Jesse joined the club in February 2022 and was instrumental in keeping the club in the Premier League on the final day of last season. Rene Maric, Cameron Toshack and Pierre Barrieu will also leave the club.
‘We would like to thank Jesse and his backroom staff for their efforts and wish them well for the future. The process of appointing a new head coach is underway and we will continue to keep supporters updated over the coming days.’
Leeds last won a Premier League game on November 5, against Bournemouth at Elland Road.
After Sunday’s defeat at Forest, Marsch said: ‘I have to find a way to turn good performances into wins because that’s where we are and we’ve been there for a long time. This is the last step for me. I understand the frustration and I accept it.
‘I have to find a way to turn good things into results, or we’ll find ourselves in a stressful situation. I understand.
‘It’s hard to have the right words for the team at the moment because the emotions are obviously strong but my final message is a big week. It’s a big week. Internally, we have faith in it. we do. The players are all. They give everything they have.’
News/Image Sources: Daily Mail