Unhappy Osiander Is Not Getting His Way in San Jose
There’s a coach in California whose current unhappiness is tied very closely to a player from Mexico.
No, it’s not Sigi Schmid, who said this week that he believes Luis Hernandez will settle in very well with the Galaxy, given a few more games.
This time it’s the San Jose Earthquakes’ Lothar Osiander who is upset, and the cause of his unhappiness is, well . . . no one is quite sure. It could be Lynne Meterparel, the only female general manager in Major League Soccer, or it could be Sunil Gulati, who pulls the strings for both of Robert Kraft’s soccer properties, the Earthquakes and the New England Revolution.
Either way, the Earthquakes are 3-7-4 and mired in last place in the Western Division, a familiar spot. That wasn’t what former Galaxy coach Osiander imagined when he took over the team this year.
“At the end of the day, I’ll probably get blamed for the season we’re having,” he told the San Jose Mercury News. “But at the end of the day, the players I wanted I didn’t get.
“Whether they were available or not available, we didn’t pursue them hard enough to bring them in.”
Right now, MLS, which signs all players, is pursuing two from Mexico, national team forward Jose Manuel Abundis, a player Osiander doesn’t want, and Olympic team midfielder Emilio Mora, who seems a better choice.
MLS believes that Abundis would be a draw, both in San Jose and in other league cities with significant Mexican-American populations. That’s why it wants him. But Osiander says the Toluca player is injured and will not be able to help.
Osiander traveled to Mexico a couple of weeks ago and learned firsthand just how hobbled Abundis is. Since then, the player has twice been a no-show when he was expected in San Jose.
“It’s because he has a bum knee,” Osiander told the Mercury News. “We told him he was going to have a medical exam, an MRI, and then we’d talk contract. Ever since we said that, he didn’t show.”
Mora is younger and not as well known, but in the long-term MLS would be better off signing him instead of Abundis.
MEXICO WAS WRONG
U.S. Soccer has done exactly the right thing in refusing to pay the Mexican soccer federation its appearance fee for taking part in the just-concluded U.S. Cup, which also featured the national teams of Ireland, South Africa and the U.S.
The Mexican federation was to have received more than $450,000, but U.S. Soccer now simply will cover the team’s costs and withhold the major portion of the money.
The team Mexico sent to the tournament was not its national team, rather a collection of club players under Hugo Sanchez, the country’s one-time star forward. Mexico’s real coach, Manuel Lapuente, didn’t even bother coming.
That was an insult to the seven-year-old event, and U.S. Soccer should do more than simply withhold the money. It should tell Mexico that it won’t be invited to the tournament next year, or any time soon.
TOO OLD, BY FAR
New York/New Jersey MetroStar defender Lothar Matthaeus was criticized strongly by the media for his poor play in Germany’s 1-1 tie with Romania at the European Championship, and now teammates have joined the chorus.
Matthaeus, 39, was yanked in the second half of his world-record 148th national team game. With a crucial match against England on Saturday, other German players are saying he should stay on the bench.
That does not sit well with Matthaeus.
“If somebody can’t say to my face what he has against me, then I feel sorry for him,” Matthaeus told the German newspaper Bild. “I won’t allow myself to be made the scapegoat.”
MetroStar Coach Octavio Zambrano is in for a trying time if and when Matthaeus returns to New York. And the “if” grows bigger by the day.