HARRISON, NJ - APRIL 17: Hans Backe coach of the New York Red Bulls watches his players warm up before the match against the FC Dallas at Red Bull Arena on April 17, 2010 in Harrison, New Jersey. The Red Bulls defeated the FC Dallas 2-1. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
It's awfully hard to believe, but Hans Backe was not voted MLS Coach of the Year, losing out to FC Dallas's Schellas Hyndman.
Consider that Backe managed to lead the Red Bulls to the best single-season turnaround in MLS history. Consider also that for all the attention lavished on high-profile signings Theirry Henry and Rafa Marquez, neither one played a decisive factor in most of the team's best results (and both joined after midseason).
Under Backe, Dane Richards took a massive leap forward. Bouda Confoul became one of the league's best goalkeepers. And rookies like Tim Ream and Tony Tchani made significant progress from the start of the season to the end of it (save the final 20 minutes of the match against San Jose).
The strangest part of all is that, while FC Dallas improved over last season, Hyndman also coached last year's team. So however one feels about the role a coach plays in seasonal results, he was indisputably part of both seasons. Did he mysteriously improve this past winter?
Backe, by any definition of the award, is the prototype for it. It seems inexplicable that he should be denied the award.