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Owen Coyle and Jesus Ortiz Spar During Post-Game Press Conference

Owen Coyle, Credit: Ray Escamilla

Owen Coyle, Credit: Ray Escamilla

Following the Sporting KC and Houston Dynamo match, the post-game press conference had quite possibly its most entertaining exchange (listen to audio below).

Houston Chronicle reporter Jesus Ortiz asked, “Owen, what do you think you could have done differently to help your team secure a two goal lead with 26 minutes to go?  Do you think it hurt you to take Will Bruin out?”

Dynamo Head Coach Owen Coyle took issue with the question and asked Ortiz whether he watched the game and later implored Ortiz to make sure your questions are reasonable.

The question was not unreasonable.  The decision to pull Bruin did change the game to some degree.  The better question though may have been why not bring in Luis Garrido instead of going like for like and choosing Hoffman?  Or possibly even consider pulling Giles Barnes first who had absorbed several rough fouls in the first sixty minutes.

There are three important notes prior to listening to the audio.  First, I am still formally the FanBlogger covering the Houston Dynamo for Chron.com.  While I do not consider myself biased, it is a slight conflict despite how infrequently I may write for Chron.com.

Second, Ortiz was serving as the pool reporter assigned to ask questions to the match official.  As a result, he got pulled out of the press conference immediately preceding its start and only had the limited time Coyle and Giles Barnes were commenting about the game to decide how he wanted to word his question.

Finally, Ortiz may have generated some controversy this week with his article about Will Bruin.  Bruin has not received as much playing time as he received under Dom Kinnear with Coyle’s change of formation being a point of contention.  Ortiz asked Coyle whether Bruin had asked for a trade and reading between the lines, that may have generated a little tension.  Further, it is not uncommon for reporters who have written stories earlier in the week to follow-up on their own story lines.

Initially, I thought the question may have not been worded well and that set Coyle off. After reading the question and listening again to the audio, it seemed readily apparent that Ortiz did not ask a poor question.  Instead, Coyle overreacted.

While the passion to win is great and the overreaction ranks low on the all-time list of coaches taking their frustrations out on the media, Coyle will likely admit he could have handled the question better.  In fact, his simple explanation at the end that Bruin had just run his socks off was non-controversial and a valid point.

Here is the audio of the relevant portions of the press conference.  Do you agree?  Was Ortiz’s question reasonable?  Did Coyle overreact?

Dwain Capodice is a freelance writer covering the Houston Dynamo and the US National Team for Keeper Notes and also serves as the Fan Blogger covering soccer at Chron.com.  He can be reached on twitter @dcapodice or via email at dwaincapodice@gmail.com.

  • Respect to Owen Coyle. Like, José Mourinho, he backs his players. As a player, I’d rather he have my back than the reporters back.

    If reporters ask tough questions, expect to take the heat. If reporters ask questions where the manager is put in a position to talk down on his players, expect a terse reply.

    Good to have fire in the belly as a manger, to let the players know he’s got their back… that extra edge often can be the slight edge between winning and not in the long-term.

  • Da_Kid

    Even a novice soccer fan can see what Coyle was trying to do in the 70th minute; manage the game and see off a 3-1 lead. Giles’ mistake was bad, but hardly fatal. Kevin Stott’s atrocious call cost the Dynamo not one goal, but two – the PK that immediately followed, and forcing them to be a man down and the ridiculous 6 minutes of extra time that he imposed. It should have been a 3-2 win. To then ask the manager as to whether he felt like he could have done something differently – before the game-defining mistake and call – is lazy.

    Then to compound it, Ortiz gets all butthurt in his article and goes passive-aggressive in his write-up of the game in the paper. Someone who didn’t watch the game but read the article would infer that it was Coyle’s fault – when it clearly wasn’t. The gaffer gets a pass on this one, and the writer needs to grow the hell up.

    • Hal Kaiser

      Managing the game the way Coyle has done in his time here would mean removing Bruin in favor of a midfielder (Garrido) and looking to jam up the midfield. I had no problem with Bruin coming off when he did, but I was very much surprised it was a forward for forward swap. Also would have preferred to see Barnes off first as he was getting killed by SKC, was favoring his ribs the entire 2nd half and looked to be pretty gassed.

      Anyway you slice it, though, asking a coach if a particular substitution was a match changing event is a reasonable question. Tougher question than that are asked every day in the NFL, MLB, NBA, EPL, Bundesliga, etc. MLS managers have gotten off pretty light given nature of coverage here, but I’d like to see more such questions asked.

  • st12

    If there was any mistake on Coyles part, it would be taking Sturgis out for Garrido. Maybe I don’t see what everyone else is seeing in him but I don’t think he’s as good as he was last year. Now its only been a handful of games so thats nothing to base anything off of but what I’ve seen from Luis have left me rather “meh”. I think Stugis’ second stint here has been great. He’s done a lot that some fans might not see. And I also think he might have one of the better passing %s in the league thus far.
    As for the Ortiz thing, I think he just wanted to create a story out of nothing. I don’t really know why he would think the game changed with Bruin coming out(I would’ve subbed the beat-up Barnes rather than Bruin). The game changed when Barnes made that bad pass. He’s a better player than that. Then the phantom call happened and really sucked the air out of the team. Credit the guys for not giving up and scoring goal 4 though.

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