The Chris Armas era is over at New York Red Bull.
The head coach was fired by the team, announced Friday morning, along with assistant coach CJ Brown. An interim head coach will be named in the coming days.
“On behalf of the organization, I’d like to thank Chris for his hard work and dedication to the club,” said Red Bulls’ head of sport Kevin Thelwell in the team’s statement.
“In this business, we have to make difficult decisions based on performances and, fundamentally, results. At this time, it’s my decision that we must go in a different direction in order to meet the ambitions we have for our football club. We wish Chris and CJ all the best in their future endeavors.”
“We will conduct a wide, thorough search for our next head coach,” said Thelwell.
Sporting director Denis Hamlett, who’s held that position since 2017, has not released a statement through the team as of now. There is speculation that his role with the team may be in danger as well.
Armas took reign of the team on July 6, 2018, days before the Red Bulls were set to face New York City FC when then head-coach Jesse Marsch was announced to be joining German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. Despite taking over for the most successful manager in team history, Armas helped the team finish 2018 on a 12-3-3 run and clinched the 2018 Supporters’ Shield on the final day of the regular season from Atlanta United.
On paper, Armas’ record of 33-11-27 (WTL) while at the helm would put him in the top half of head coaches in the organization’s history, including being fifth in both overall wins (one behind Mike Petke) and win percentage (46.48%). However, recent results and roster decisions have led some Red Bull fans to call for his dismissal as early as mid-2019.
The 2019 season saw plenty of roster movement, including the transfer of Red Bull Homegrown and USMNT star Tyler Adams to Leipzig, leaving Armas as the man to set-up the pieces. While the team led the league in individual goal scorers (21) an early slump that included a historic five-game win-less streak put New York in a hole early. The team made strides in the middle of the season where players such as Daniel Royer and Brian White took on critical roles, but still lacked a new leading man on the field.
But three straight losses late in the year and a first-round exit in the playoffs to the Philadelphia Union as a sixth seed left Armas’ long term future in the air.
In 2020, the Red Bulls currently sit in 7th place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 3-2-4, including a group stage exit in the MLS is Back Tournament and the inability to score more than one goal in all but one game this season. The team most recently fell to D.C. United on September 2 thanks to a 98th-minute stoppage-time goal by Erik Sorga.
The Red Bulls host the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena Saturday night.
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