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July 29, 2015 — Another coach strikes back, and is fired

Last Sunday, the men’s national soccer team from Mexico won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Philadelphia.

But as the team and staff were leaving town, head coach Miguel Herrera got into a physical and verbal altercation with TV Azteca Christian Martinoli in the security line at Philadelphia International Airport, punching him in the back of the head.

It’s a particularly dumb thing to do in any circumstance, much less in a high-security area such as an airport.

Given the speed which the Mexican soccer federation fires manager, it’s pretty amazing that it took fewer than two days to get rid of Herrera. Herrera had been brought in after CONCACAF qualifying to basically save the game. The Mexican national team had a poor Hexagonal, finishing in fourth place (and would have placed fifth had the United States not scored two goals in the final 90 seconds of play to beat Panama).

The fourth-place finish meant that Mexico had to win a two-game playoff against New Zealand in order to make the 2014 World Cup. That being done, El Tri survived its group at Brazil 2014 before losing to Holland in the octofinal round.

Herrera gained a lot of support and attention because of the unbridled enthusiasm with which he celebrated his team’s goals. He also was a proven winner with Club America and with the Mexico national side.

But like managers who have crossed the line when it comes to assault — people like Mike Rice, Billy Martin, and Bob Knight — Herrera was seen as a liability rather than an asset. The coaching move comes only weeks before the second round of World Cup qualifying for 2018 as well as a one-game playoff for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

I guess the revolving door for the coaching position for Mexico has just revved up again.


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