Despite taking three points yesterday versus Real Salt Lake, the San Jose Earthquakes and Jesse Fioranelli fired Dom Kinnear today, along with assistant John Spencer.
The move is not surprising as the Quakes have yet to make the playoffs under Kinnear, and were facing a third year of potential playoff drought despite sitting in fifth place in the West after yesterday’s win, above the playoff line.
Technical Director Chris Leitch will take over as interim head coach, and Alex Covelo will take over for John Spencer. Now the question moves from “When will the Quakes part ways with Kinnear?” to “Who will the Quakes target to replace Kinnear?” Leitch is certainly a front-runner, although the search will probably land another candidate, possibly from Europe as Jesse begins the search.
Correction: Leitch is not taking over as interim head coach. The article states that Leitch will be the head coach going forward, which probably means the move was planned for some time, and made official today. (possible internal coup?)
The move is unusual as it’s customary to fill the opening from someone within the organization until a permanent replacement is made after a lengthy search and vetting process of numerous candidates, which would explain the appointment of Leitch for a temporary solution. The naming of Leitch as the permanent head coach without going through a normal search process to look at potential coaches is hasty, and tends to raise more questions than answers. Did the Quakes reach out to other candidates, and if so, who? How long did the vetting process take to decide to hire Leitch as the permanent coach? What set Leitch apart versus other coaches with more pedigree and experience? What names are front-runners to take over as technical director once the decision was made? Etc.
For now, all fans can do is thank Dom for his service and wish Chris the best of luck going forward.