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Morrow Fired as FC Dallas Coach

Published 5/20/2008 7:50:02 PM by staff from mlsnet
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Apparently, FC Dallas' disastrous 5-1 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday in front of the biggest crowd ever at Pizza Hut Park was the last straw for FCD president and general manager Michael Hitchcock and the team's ownership as they dismissed Steve Morrow as head coach on Tuesday morning.

Marco Ferruzzi, an FCD assistant coach since 2005, will fill the head coach role on an interim basis until a permanent replacement can be found.  "This is obviously a difficult decision for me since it was my choice to give Steve this opportunity," Hitchcock said. "We have great fans who I believe deserve more from our team for their support. We have set very high standards, expectations and goals for this team and organization. I feel that the team wasn't heading in the direction we had planned and believe it was in the best interest of the club to make a change in leadership at this time."

Morrow was hired in December 2006 after the club had relieved Colin Clarke of his duties. In 2007, Morrow led Dallas to a 13-12-5 record and 44 points, putting them in third place in the MLS Western Conference. But the Hoops lost in the opening round of the playoffs for the third consecutive year and haven't advanced in the postseason since 1999.

However, FCD is struggling in 2008. They started off the year with disappointing draws to Chivas USA and at Houston, two games in which they held late leads. The Hoops then rebounded with back-to-back wins against New York and at Chivas USA but are currently mired in a four-match winless streak that has seen them score just twice in their last four matches. Morrow finished his tenure at FCD with a 15-15-8 record.   The latest setback, a 5-1 loss to the Galaxy on Sunday where the Hoops were outclassed by the visitors, was indeed the final act for Morrow and Hitchcock admitted that had FCD fared better against L.A., the change would not have been made.

"It certainly wasn't a decision that I made lightly," Hitchcock said. "If this wasn't a decision that was best for the team and organization going forward, I wouldn't make this decision. I felt the team was heading in the wrong direction and that we needed to make this decision at this time. Losing 5-1 to Los Angeles in front of our biggest crowd was a factor."

When asked what criteria he would use in finding Morrow's replacement, Hitchcock said it was an open process.   "At this time, we're just beginning the search and will consider anyone at this time," he said. "We need someone who will be a strong leader and will get this team back on track. We know that we have the potential to be a very good team in this league and we want someone to help this team reach its potential. We're going to analyze the candidates, weigh the pros and cons and use a similar system to what we've used in the past."

Hitchcock further added that at no point was he approached by any players asking for Morrow to be removed.   "No, I always have conversations with players but none of them came to me and requested that we make a change with our head coach," he said. "We all accept accountability for where we are as a team. That is shared with me, the coaching staff and all the players. We're going to fix this and get back on track to put ourselves in the best possible position to make a run at MLS Cup."

He also emphasized that the club's struggles at home during Morrow's tenure were another driving force in his departure.  "If you look on our home record over the last year and a half, we have had 30 matches and have won 10 of those," Hitchcock said. "I'm a firm believer that when we bring our fans out to the stadiums, this needs to be a home field advantage for the team and we need the team to respond and reward the fans for coming out. Our home record hasn't been great. We were heading in the wrong direction and that manifested itself with the 5-1 loss last Sunday."

Label: FC Dallas, Steve Morrow fired, FC Dallas coach
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