When the Columbus Crew front office replaced deposed head coach Robert Waryzcha with technical director Brian Bliss earlier this month, they said they expected to find a long-term coach by the end of the season.
After two weeks at the helm, Bliss is making the decision much more interesting.
Bliss has won two of his first three matches after Warzycha’s departure, including a desperately needed three points against Houston and a stunning come-from-behind win in Montreal last weekend. They’re four points back of the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a home game against Chicago on Saturday that could put them right back in the thick of the race for the postseason.
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And for Bliss, who was an interim head coach in Kansas City in 2006, the sense of competing for a job has left his mind.
“When all of it breaks loose, you feel like you're in an audition,” he told reporters after training on Tuesday. “Right now, I don't look at it as an audition. I'm not saying we've done the work, we haven’t. But every day you've got to prove yourself as a coach and a player.
“I'm done with the mentality that I'm on trial,” he added. “I can only do so much, and at the end they have to look at it and say, 'Was the work good enough or was it not good enough?'"
In his introductory press conference, Bliss said that he was “here for the job and I want the job, and [club president and GM Mark McCullers and owner Anthony Precourt] know that,” but he said Tuesday that he can’t view each win as a necessity to his future.
“Obviously results help, but I can't live like I'm on an eight-week try out,” he said. “I'd have an ulcer. That's no way to live your life. I certainly can’t live that way, and neither can my family.”
While things seem to be looking up for the Crew, Bliss said that he has had minimal contact from the Columbus front office since his appointment, but that the lack of communication may not be a bad thing.
“There's been very little communication from that side. I'm not saying that there should or shouldn't be; I'm not being critical,” he said. “Maybe that's designed by them to not interfere, or put any extra pressure on the group or myself. So maybe it's by choice that they're not constantly in contact.”