FC Cincinnati sacks Koch as coach after just 11 MLS games

FC Cincinnati has relieved Alan Koch of his managerial duties just 11 games into the team's expansion season in MLS, the team announced on Tuesday.

Assistant coach Yoann Damet will take over on an interim basis.

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"After a series of recent issues and a team culture that had deteriorated, we determined that it's time to make a change to return a club-centered focus to the team," said FCC president Jeff Berding.

"This decision is not driven by recent game results themselves, but rather the underpinnings that have led to those results. We have not come close to maximizing the talent we have in the dressing room this year, nor have we seen a foundation being built that will set us up for success this year and into next year.

"Our whole locker room is committed to our club goal of earning an MLS postseason bid, and we need to put them in the best position to do so," Berding added.

The move comes a week after Koch publicly questioned the talent at his disposal.

That didn't go over well with the players, with forward Fanendo Adi lamenting the team's lack of identity following last weekend's 1-0 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes, a match in which FCC played a man up for the final 39 minutes.

With the team currently mired in a seven-game winless streak, Berding felt compelled to make the move.

Questions still remain regarding the construction of the roster. Heading into the season, Cincinnati was widely viewed as being short of attacking options, even after the acquisition of on-loan U.S. international midfielder Kenny Saief. That has proven to be the case, with FCC currently suffering through a 521-minute goalless run.

Koch didn't help himself either, making some curious personnel decisions, including the playing of usual center midfielder Fatai Alashe in a wide midfield role for 45 minutes during the match against San Jose.

Koch was in his third season with the club. With the team playing in the second-tier USL, he was hired just prior to the start of the 2017 campaign after the team dismissed John Harkes. He led FCC on a memorable run to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup that season, dispatching MLS sides the Columbus Crew and the Chicago Fire. The following year, he led Cincinnati to the USL regular season championship.

He departs with an MLS record of 2-7-2. His record at USL level was 35-13-8.