After being named the Crew's interim coach, Brian Bliss described himself as a positive person. Now approaching his third game, Bliss is coming to terms with the fact that he can change only so much in a short period. Rather than get frustrated, Bliss said he is viewing the situation as a challenge.
After being named the Crew’s interim coach, Brian Bliss described himself as a positive person. Now approaching his third game, Bliss is coming to terms with the fact that he can change only so much in a short period.
Rather than get frustrated, Bliss said he is viewing the situation as a challenge.
“I’m all about the challenge and about the process,” he said. “I like the process. I’m realistic, too, to know that we’re not going to get it all done in a week or two weeks, and that’s OK.”
Two days after Bliss was publicly announced as interim coach on Sept. 2, the Crew played the Houston Dynamo in its third midweek game of the season. Two days after that, Bliss coached his first road game last Saturday at Sporting Kansas City.
The results were a win and a lopsided loss, but Bliss’ second week has had a little more rhythm. The Crew had a full week to prepare for today’s game at the Montreal Impact, the first-place team in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, and that meant Bliss could start making some of his
desired changes to the team’s approach.
“Last week was pretty hectic with everything that went on, with Bliss coming in, the two games and the travel,” defender Eric Gehrig said. “It’s another week for him and more opportunity for him to instill little things, whether it’s on the field and how we go about things or instilling confidence or whatever it may be. The more time you spend together, the more comfortable you get.”& amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>
The problem is that Bliss has only a few weeks to try to turn around the season and make an impression on new owner-investor Anthony Precourt.
Eight games remained on the schedule when Bliss took over, and any more losses likely will make reaching the postseason impossible. To reach the average number of points earned by the final team to make the Eastern Conference playoffs since the league expanded to a 34-game schedule, the Crew needs 16 points in its final six games. That equates to a 5-0-1 record.
The players responded with a 2-0 win against Houston in Bliss’ first game, but maintaining that spark has proved difficult. Bliss said the changes he is making are more about trying to change momentum and attitudes.
“Guys are feeling better about themselves,” he said. “We can try to influence in a short amount of time the mentality more so than the tactics, but sometimes a little bit of it goes hand in hand. We’re still in an adjustment period: me getting used to them, them getting used to me and how I like to do things, and the types of activities that I like to do.”
The team’s injury situation has not helped. Federico Higuain, Dominic Oduro, Chad Marshall and Danny O’Rourke are questionable for today’s game, and Josh Williams, Andy Gruenebaum and Gehrig are out. The Crew could be without eight members of its opening-day starting lineup.
It’s a good thing that Bliss is an optimist.
“I wouldn’t say it’s frustrating,” he said. “I actually enjoy the process, and I’m hoping we’re bestowing upon the players to embrace it as well and not be frustrated. I’m trying to do that through some of the meetings we have, body language, everything.”