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Jason Kreis: Portland’s John Spencer dismissed too soon

Real Salt Lake v Philadelphia Union

CHESTER, PA - JUNE 11: Head coach Jason Kreis of Real Salt Lake coaches on the sideline during a game against Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on June 11, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The game ended 1-1. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

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Count Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis among the coaches who believe the Portland Timers were quick on the ax regarding John Spencer, who was fired on Monday:

What Kreis just told Extra Time Radio, the MLSSoccer.com podcast:

Many prior occasions I’ve seen coaches get fired rather quickly. I just don’t understand it. It requires a lot more patience than that. We barely made the playoffs in the second year that I was coaching. … I just had an owner that ‘got it.’ I think I was very fortunate to be working for Dave Checketts, who had spent so many years in professional sports that he just knew it was going to take some time.

So that’s a very unfortunate situation, very painful for [Spencer]. But in the end, for Spencer to be with an expansion team only a year and a half, and he almost made the playoffs his first year. That says a lot. And he was still getting good results along the way this year, against some very quality opponents … It seems to me there was something else involved. In Merritt Paulson’s comments, it seems like there was something else going on there.”


As he said, Kreis knows about this stuff, and he’s talked openly before about the big learning curve involved, about the mistakes he made early in his managerial tenure in Utah.

At just 34 years old, the league’s youngest coach, the learning curve was especially steep. But he did lead the club to the playoffs in his second year (his first full season in charge), and a year after that Kreis became the youngest manager to claim an MLS Cup.