After the disaster of a World Cup qualifying campaign in 2008, everybody wanted Dale gone. But now that the deed is done, I feel like it is important to offer some perspective on Mitchell as a figure in Canadian soccer:
- Mitchell is, arguably, the greatest player ever to play for Canada. He was part of the only team in Canadian history to qualify for the World Cup finals, and is the leading scorer among players to wear the red and white.
- As a manager, he has a mixed set of results. He performed above expectations with his U20 teams until the 2007 tournament (qualifying and performing well in 2003 and 2005 are achievements that shouldn't be diminished).
- As a senior side manager, he did not perform any worse in WCQ than the previous two men to attempt the feat: both Holger's Heroes and the Frank Yallop Experience crashed and burned in similar fashion. Holger got a few wins in 2000, but in a much easier group. Yallop's team also didn't strike fear into any opposition.
Saturday update: Most of the rest of the Canadian soccer bloggerati have weighed in on Mitchell's firing:
- 24th minute relief pitcher Andrew Bucholtz offers a reasoned explanation of the firing, making the necessary point that Mitchell shares the blame with players and the Canadian soccer establishment
- At Maple Leaf Forever, a post that speculates on replacements (staff coaches Stephen Hart and Tony Fonseca are the names offered up).
- Footie Fool has a brief comment on the news, and promises more shortly.