Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Lenarduzzi: Rennie’s dismissal reflects “fine line” between success and failure

Lenarduzzi: Rennie’s dismissal reflects “fine line” between success and failure

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Martin Rennie is out as head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

On Tuesday, the club announced that it would not renew the 38-year-old’s contract.

This after Rennie’s side posted a 13-12-9 record in MLS play this season and lifted the Cascadia Cup, awarded to the team with the best head-to-head record among Pacific Northwest clubs.

Ultimately it was the Scotsman’s failure to lead the Whitecaps to the MLS Cup playoffs for a second consecutive season, and the team’s inability to win the Canadian Championship and the coveted CONCACAF Champions League spot that comes with it, that cost him the job.

The second consecutive end-of-season meltdown will surely not have helped his case, either, as the side went through a rough 1-7-2 run over August and September after appearing like potential Supporters’ Shield contenders in midseason.

“From our point of view, it’s not just this season, it’s also last season as well,” club president Bob Lenarduzzi told reporters at a press conference at BC Place Tuesday. “In both of those years, we started well, and we tailed off toward the end…there’s no doubt there’s a fine line between success and what we would deem to be failure.

“We just need to give ourselves the best chance possible to be on the right side of that, and over the last two years, we thought that perhaps [consistency] was the biggest problem that we had.”

Still, Rennie will be remembered for bringing credibility to a club which posted one of the least memorable seasons in recent history in the season prior to his appointment. In its inaugural year in MLS in 2011, Vancouver finished dead last.

The Scotsman immediately brought a defensive structure to the team after taking over following that season, and set about making the team hard to beat. The Whitecaps were the lowest scoring team to qualify for the playoffs in 2012, but just sneaked in despite a dire end-of-season run-in, where the side claimed just one win in its last 10 matches.

“I think Martin has progressed this team,” captain Jay DeMerit said during the press conference. “I think he’s done his job to a certain capacity. From my experience, especially, Martin was a great, great part of the progression of this club. His positivity, his managing skills, his vision — his ideas of how to implement those types of things is where I think he fell a little bit short.”

Rennie finishes his tenure with the club with a record of 24-25-19 in MLS play, and a record of 28-27-22 in all competitions.

“It has been a great experience to see the team improve its points total by 75 per cent and to see our goal output increase by 55 per cent,” Rennie said in a club statement. “I hope the fans have enjoyed the attacking and entertaining soccer they have witnessed this season and I want to thank them for their incredible support.

“You have roared us on to the club’s most successful season to date and it has been an honour to represent you. I will always have a special bond with you, especially those of us who were together on October 9, 2013 when we beat Seattle Sounders FC 4-1 to win the club’s first MLS trophy.”

Whoever takes over will become Vancouver’s fourth coach in as many seasons, with the heavy favorite rumored to be Vancouver native Frank Yallop, a two-time MLS coach of the year who has won two MLS Cups and a Supporters Shield, all with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Lenarduzzi said the former coach of the Canadian national team is a candidate for the position, but stated that no contact has been made with any potential hire.

The support coaching staff will remain in place until a new coach is hired, at which point a decision on their futures will be made.

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