Jorgensen Out!

The great Eduardo Galeano once wrote “the manager believes soccer is a science and the field a laboratory, but the genius of Einstein and the subtlety of Freud is not enough for the owners and the fans.  They want a miracle worker like Our Lady of Lourdes, with the stamina of Gandhi.”

In the case of David Jorgensen, his first two years as our manager contained enough miracles to satisfy even our most restless supporters.  Combining a pragmatic defensive approach with a penchant for inspiring the lads to perform above their abilities, Jorgi transformed SSW into a side that no one wanted to play- a well-drilled machine capable of turning matches against far better sides into stalemates, squeezing out draws where we should lose, and even stealing the occasional match with a well-timed counter attack.  And the results followed- we somehow managed to make a relegation qualifier in a division we had no business earning a point in then, after a heartbreaking defeat in said qualifier, rallied the side to promote straight back up with ease the following year, and made consecutive runs to the fourth round of the US Open Cup, not to mention a Golden League Masters appearance.

Last year, however, the magic ran dry.  Whether he became jaded following a dust-up with erstwhile star forward Rolando Blackmon-Thomas, or whether the players had simply heard all his speeches before, his ability to motivate the side notably waned.  In addition, his defensive approach seemed to begin to hold the side back, turning a team that had previously been a scrappy underdog into a lousy favorite, as we dropped two matches to a deeply inferior St. Croix Destroyers side and drew several other games they should have won.  Worse, we started to pale in comparison to sister side Racing Winnebago, who scored buckets of goals and progressed further than we did in the Masters.

Pressured by an impatient fandom, the Board acted, consigning Jorgensen to the Outer Darkness of professional punditry and anointing baking enthusiast Ruggero Panero a new savior.  Panero, for his part, has attempted to restore faith by promising a more expansive, midfield-centric approach, shipping off malcontent Janos Pailing and making three new signings: utility defender Kurt Krenski, maverick Vietnamese winger Le Chieu and, most shockingly of all, an actual forward in the person of one Gabor Horvath.  Panero even stated that we might play with more than one up top for the first time in over a year!  Clearly a revolution is afoot.

Still, while the fans and ownership are thrilled with our new messiah, at least until we actually play a match, I can’t help but to feel a twinge of regret for Jorgi, who took us to new heights and kept us there, and to wonder if he had a point when he stated that playing a more aggressive game would put us at a disadvantage to our more-established league mates and put us at risk of heading back down to V.  I sure hope not.

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