Whitecaps fire Thordarson, make Soehn head coach

TeiturThordarson (Getty) 

The Vancouver Whitecaps began their inagural season in MLS with so much promise, delivering a season-opening thrashing of Toronto FC making many wonder if this expansion team might be more successful than most past expansion teams.

The Whitecaps haven't won a game since, and head coach Teitur Thordarson paid the price for that on Monday by being fired by the club on Saturday night, after the team's 1-1 draw vs. New York.

Director of Soccer Tom Soehn was chosen to replace Thordarson. The former D.C. United head coach was hired as the team's director of Soccer Operations more than a year ago and is joined on the staff by former Chicago Fire head coach Denis Hamlett.

What do you think of this development? Think it was only a matter of time? Can you see Soehn help turn things around?

Share your thoughts below.

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51 Responses to Whitecaps fire Thordarson, make Soehn head coach

  1. The Dude says:

    J-O-K-E. I’m not even a fan of the Caps and I can say this is stupid. Is Vancouver a mediocre team? Yes. Is it TT’s fault? No. First of all, the FO needs to take responsibility for putting together a weak team. Aside from Hassli, Rochat, Chiumiento, and Demerit, there is little talent here. Camilo has had his moments, and Harris had his, but the midfield and defense is pretty bad. Second, they drafted poorly. It probably wasn’t the best idea to take Salgado, given that the team needed to win immediately. Third, they’re been beset by injuries, which is unfortunate, but not TT’s fault. Fourth, bad timing. Vancouver is set to win the Nutrilite and the team just got a huge draw against NY. At the very lest, they should have given TT more time. Soehn is kidding himself if he thinks he’s a better coach than TT. Vancouver’s season is about to get worse, not better.

  2. RatHcoole says:

    Stupid move, suggests panic and incompetence. their draft picks suggested a long term development plan, but this shows otherwise. Does every expansion team now expect to be a good mls team off the bat? Seattle and perhaps Portland, which remains to be seen, are exceptions to the rule. I would be dismayed if every expansion team was very competitive from the kick off. The league is better than that.

  3. LA Galaxy Fan says:

    This is just ridicoulos, the union had a bad season last year and look at them now, just killing teams. What is wrong with Canada, i mean seriously.

  4. Matt S says:

    This is still the MLS where any team can get hot over a few games and suddenly be in playoff contention. Way too early for this move despite their lack of form.

  5. WickedGiMP says:

    Only time will tell, but I doubt promoting from within will make much difference here. Soehn was already a part of the team, and at least theoretically should already have been discussing his opinion to TT about lineup and tactical information. Sure that doesn’t mean TT listened, but this seems to me like a classic example of firing the coach because you can’t do anything about your players.

    Of course, this could all be part of the master plan. Maybe TT was just a pawn in the switch to MLS until Vancouver decided they really wanted Soehn instead. You don’t hire two former MLS Head Coaches to play Assistant without knowing full well their true desire to get back to managing.

  6. CILII_blog says:

    Well well another Canadian team hitting the panic button and firing their coach.
    I’m not sure what the Front Office is expecting from an expansion MLS team.
    There are some good talent on that team, it just needs more chemistry.
    This move will get the whitecaps nowhere.

  7. nico says:

    Somehow I doubt Tom Soehn was giving Thordarson much of a chance…call me cynical but I suspect Soehn helped push out Thordarson and positioned himself for the job. I thought Thordarson was doing OK with the players he had…and it was still early enough…should have given him the entire season.

  8. BB says:

    Bad precedent. Surprised to hear this from a Canadian team – very cut-throat for our neighbors to the north.

  9. beckster says:

    Gee….can’t wait to start up the “Fire Soehn” messages on the blogs again….been a couple of years after all. Seriously, he isn’t going to be an improvement. Can’t believe that the Whitecaps gave Thordarson so little time in the job.

  10. Hood Roch says:

    Soehn’s gonna suck too. He isn’t going to make them any better. Take it from me, a DCU fan.

  11. The Dude says:

    Whitecaps just published an open letter to fans. The funniest line is this one: “Tommy [Soehn] is one of the architects of the player roster we have built…” And yet he is now offered the head coaching position?! Ha! Why would you REWARD the guy who built a mediocre team? Remember back in January and February when Vancouver was taking forever to put together a good quad? Well TT’s firing is simply that problem coming home to roost. In reality, Soehn is the one who screwed up this team, not TT, who did what he could with weak players and tons of injuries.

  12. The Dude says:

    Seriously. It’s naive to think that every new team is gonna make the playoffs right away. Be patient, Vancouver. And if you’re not patient, then don’t draft Omar Salgado.

  13. ChiTownFire says:

    We should seriously stop recycling coaches, it’s getting a bit ridiculous. This league isn’t going to get better until we get fresh eyes on some of these teams.

  14. A wise man once says:

    +1 to everyone here.

  15. anon says:

    The Union weren’t too great, but their results were better than the Whitecaps’. Last year they got 31 points in 30 games, at just over a point per game. The Whitecaps this year have 9 points in 12 games, well under a point per game.

  16. anon says:

    While recycling some coaches–oh, say, Preki–is clearly a bad idea, Soehn’s results with DC weren’t too bad. He’s won a Supporter’s Shield and a US Open Cup. How many MLS coaches can you say that about?

    I disagree with the Whitecaps’ decision, by the by.

  17. Jon B says:

    While the Union may have had a slightly better start than Vancouver, you’re taking a whole season into account where the team improved over time. The Union had 11 points from their first 12 games. Better than 9? Yes. Significantly better? I personally don’t think so.

  18. JoeW says:

    Chicago and especially Seattle have set unrealistic targets for other expansion teams. Seattle was a special example. They had a veteran MLS coach who had won a title recently and a good relationship with the GM. They were the only expansion team (so they didn’t have to divide the expansion pool). They stuck paydirt with their USL signings (like Alonso). They got tremendous non-MLS/non-USL/non draft signings (Keller and Montero). But other expansion teams (especially those coming from the USL) look at Seattle and think “we’ll have our USL coach, the core of our USL team, we’ll just add on a DP, some rookies and a few expansion picks and we’ll be so much better.”

    Not sure where Soehn fits into all this mess b/c I don’t know Vancouver well. Clearly Vancouver did the worst job of acquiring domestic talent (draft picks, expansion picks, MLS trades). Their foreign signings are the difference between that team being Chivas-expansion bad vs. just a bad expansion side. My understanding is that Soehn had a lot to do with the foreign signings. Not sure about the other additions (expansion draft, superdraft, trades).

  19. Alex says:

    This is dumb I think the caps are a fun team to watch they are just missing a couple of peices its stupid they didn’t even give the guy enough time. Dumb

  20. Whitehartlane says:

    Geez, they coulda waited another month because Bob Bradley is a good bet to be very available then, also, reinforcements such as Mikey Bradley, 52 caps, okay, hasn’t played 90 minutes for a club in 2011, but, hey, with that many caps he must be good.

  21. Sonicdeathmonkey says:

    Looks like TFC finally has some competition for “Worst Soccer Franchise in Canada”. This is a terrible move, and if the owners think Soehn is going to be any better, they need to go back and watch tapes of how his DC United players flat out quit playing for him. This is going to get ugly.

  22. fenel says:

    They’re going to be just like TFC if they continue to make stupid decisions like this. If Soehn brings a different style of play, they’ll probably have to drop a great deal of what they built from preseason (if not everything) to adopt the new style. As a result, the identity of the team will remain a struggle.

  23. anon says:

    IIRC the Union had significantly fewer games at home than the Whitecaps did. Am I wrong? I am so often.

  24. marcus says:

    Think they’ll bring Rongen back into the MLS fold??

  25. dabull says:

    Seattle is special for sure, especially when you consider Chicago pulled the double and Seattle did not.

  26. dabull says:

    Colin Clarke

  27. hogatroge says:

    More Bradley haters… have you seen the guy play for the Nats? Forget the rehashed talking points about his time @ Gladbach and Villa… he’s always solid for the U.S. Period.

  28. Hopper says:

    Wow dude. So sensitive. No one’s saying Seattle’s better than Chicago, even though you have your own coaching mess to sort through now.

  29. hogatroge says:

    Michael Bradley, that is. Bob Bradley is not my favorite, but I guarantee MB would still be starting if BB was fired today.

  30. Hopper says:

    Canadian MLS teams seem to be following the NHL’s example, where this kind of thing happens all the time.

    Doesn’t make much sense firing a coach not even halfway through the team’s first season. Give the guy a chance to build something.

  31. Soro says:

    Without going into the pro & cons of Soehn, here are the reasons TT was fired:

    1. He refused to be moved from his beloved defensive 4-4-2, even when injuries or other reasons screamed for a change.

    2. He refused to play his best offensive player (Chiumiento) in a position where he could get the ball. Chiumiento was always left out floundering on the wing, begging for the ball. He has played in a withdrawn attacking midfield role his hole career and was ill-suited as a winger.

    3. His substitutions were bizarre.

    4. He insisted on going with Jay Nolly in net (who to be fair has been better of late), but initially cost the Caps some points at the outset of the seasons.

    5. He stuck with some of his USL guys (Knight, Wagner, Janicki), when it was clear they weren’t up to it and other alternatives were on the bench.

    On Wednesday in LA look for Cannon to in the nets, Chiumiento in a withdrawn support role in the middle, Tiebert on the left wing.

    Go Caps!

  32. Ryan Hadlock says:

    Dumb. Plain and simple. No one else would have done better and this season isn’t salvageable – they’re going to be bottom of the heap just like MOST expansions teams the first few years. Give it time to gel a little. Jeez.

  33. Rastafari says:

    Good move.. coming from a Cascadia fan…

    Vancouver is a few players shy of having a very decent squad..

  34. Supsam says:

    well…..whitecaps were on pace to ending the 2011 season with a record league low of only 3 wins. The FO didnt want their expansion season to be remembered tat way

  35. timothy says:

    I am a little less patient. Fire Shoehn now! The Whitecaps have been terrible under him!

  36. JoeW says:

    Get the chip off of your shoulder. Most expansion teams don’t expect to do what Chicago did. For one, Chicago did it year #2…MLS is a lot tougher. For another, here’s the foreign signing class that Chicago had: Piotr Nowak (all-time MLS XI), Lubos Kubik (all-time MLS XI), Roman Kosecki (Polish International), Jerzy Podbrozny (Polish International), and then they were given Jorge Campos (who was then starting for Mexico). Can anyone name an MLS team EVER that had 5 players who were current or recently removed from major National Teams other than the US? Who had 2 guys, heck–just one guy–who made the MLS all-time XI? No-one. So when Vancouver and Chivas and RSL and Philly, and Portland come in to MLS, they don’t realistically expect to win a championship in year one. But they look at Seattle and think “we can do that b/c we were in USL too” and they don’t realize that Seattle had an alignment of the planets in year one.

  37. Hobo says:

    Salgado is a stud…All they need is a central midfield playmaker to be successful

  38. Joseph D'Hippolito says:


  39. JJ says:

    Mediocre coach for mediocre coach…Results will be the same until they bring in another decent midfielder in the transfer window

  40. Watchmen says:

    As a Vancouver fan, I thought the firing was pre-mature.

    As for Soehn, I’m not going to defend his record or management style in DC, but was it so horrible that he never deserves a second chance, even on an interim basis?

  41. abc says:


  42. gerald says:

    I’m going to assume you meant teams in their 1st season because the current Red Bulls would apply with players such Lindpere, Solli, Tanio and Coundoul.

  43. gerald says:

    This firing doesn’t make any sense. This team is not that talented yet they were 30 minutes away from the CCL

  44. yankiboy says:


    Who could’nt see this one coming?!?!!? When Soehn got that gig (which I still don’t fully comprehend–unless it was for exactly this sort of situation), and Thordarson was working with a no-confidence contract–the writing was on the wall.

    He was absolutely DREADFUL when he was in charge here, in DC. It was embarrassing. When that club won, it was depsite of Soehn, not because of him.

    I will never forget him throwing Janicki and some others under the bus. With an established player, a big star–ok–maybe you have to do that to motivate them sometime. But with a guy that you brought in from the third division? A guy who you are developing?

    Maybe he has learned something since the DC debacle.

    Good luck with that, Vancouver…

  45. JoeW says:

    I did mean expansion teams. But even NYRB wouldn’t qualify. Lindpere and Tanio are fine players but Latvia and Finland, etc. are not major national teams. But at the time Pobrozny, Kosecki, Campos, Kubik and Nowak went to the fire, all of their national teams were pretty good sides (Kubik was on the Czech Republic team that eviscerated the USNT in the WC in 2000 for instance–he’s the guy who got Eric Wynalda rejected for retaliation at the start of the match). Furthermore, Henry is a fine player but no-way he or Marquez would make the MLS all-time best XI at this point based on their performances–maybe in another 4 years if they win a title or two and make the all-star team for the next couple of years. But you see, that just puts it in perspective…no team in MLS can assemble the side that Chicago did their first year (combined with MLS being a lot weaker). I don’t say that to diminish Chicago, only to say that former USL teams (like Vancouver) probably look at Seattle and underestimate how difficult and lucky it is for a USL to be really credible in year one in MLS.

  46. Rainstpub says:

    -1. He was given the chance because of his success last year. But, when you have a coach who has seperated himself from the team like he has, Soehn really had no choice.

  47. JoeW says:

    I don’t see hiring Soehn as a retread. HIring Rongen (he of 4 MLS head coaching jobs)…that would be a retread. Hiring Bora Miluntonic…that would be a retread.

    Soehn has been around MLS a long time but has only had one head coaching job. What I think is far more critical is not if someone has had multiple MLS jobs or not but rather if the decision-makers have a good handle on WHY the team is floundering and what it is that the new (but veteran) coach supposedly brings to the team. Soehn supposedly helped assemble this squad and he knows MLS well. He may have a coaching/man management style very different from Thordarson. If so, it’s a smart move. But if he’s hired b/c the management lost patience and Soehn kept praising the talent he’d assembled and how it was being wasted…well, than this is probably a bad move.

    On the retreads issue….as more soccer experience has moved into management (guys like Jeff Agoos, Chris Henderson, John Doyle, Garth Lagerway, Peter Vermes), you’re seeing a wider range of coaches being considered (not just MLS assistants, former MLS head coaches, USSF staff coaches and some college coaches). De Los Cabos, USL talent, Backe–those are all guys who wouldn’t have gotten hired a couple of years ago.)

  48. Dominghosa says:

    Agree with most on here. What an awful move. THEY’RE AN EXPANSION TEAM FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Just because Portland has been winning doesn’t mean Vancouver should be. It’s not Thordarson’s fault. The team is playing good football despite the results.

  49. Hood Rich says:

    I thought I’d never see Soehn and style in
    one sentence. :-)

  50. Jan says:

    Absoultely Dude and I emailed them right back telling them so.

  51. Ru Paul says:

    Worse combover than Donald Tramp