Robert Warzycha has dodged the hot seat through his nearly four years in charge of the Crew. A timely win or vote of confidence from the front office has taken the pressure off. After the last week, he's clearly on it.
The news the past week hasn't been kind to the manager. He played a strong lineup against the Dayton Dutch Lions and was rewarded with a weak performance, a major injury to Eddie Gaven, and the team was nearly bounced from the Open Cup by a lower division for the third year running.
On Saturday, the Crew bossed the game against a depleted Houston side, but gave up the first goal on a defensive breakdown. They chased the game and had to rely on a penalty earned by Chad Barson and converted by Federico Higuain to tie the game. Columbus is on 1-3-2 at home and on pace for the worst home record in club history.
Last night's game capped a week of record breaking poor results. The Crew came into the game with the best goal differential on the road. The team finished by locking in another record, fastest defensive breakdown. No Crew team had given up three goals in seven minutes.
A vocal minority of fans have called for Warzycha's dismissal at various times in the past three seasons, but that number has grown this year. The majority of fans I talk to now want to dismiss the coach. Assuredly there is some selection bias in my conversations, but I've talked to dozens of fans that have shifted to calling for a management change.
With the team foundering and support ebbing for Warzycha, the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. Team President and General Manager Mark McCullers and Warzycha have been here before with the nadir of the Greg Andrulis era in 2005. Supporters made signs and even showered Andrulis with pink slips to show their anger. After back to back losses in July, Andrulis was relieved of his head coaching duties and Warzycha took over as the interim head coach.
This year, the Crew are seventh in the Eastern Conference, attendance has lagged, and supporters sections are far more organized than eight years ago. Without a quick change in form, Tifo and chants against the coach may come to dominate matches at Crew Stadium. Even though Warzycha is in the last year of his contract he may not get to see it out. Many fans are ready for change now. If the Crew don't start winning, the front office may be forced to agree.