USOC: Yallop, Earthquakes set to meet old friend Lagos

Manny Lagos, Troy Dayak and Ronnie Ekelund

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

SAN JOSE, Calif. — If Frank Yallop and his San Jose Earthquakes are knocked out of the US Open Cup on Tuesday night by Minnesota Stars FC (11 pm ET, streamed live on sjearthquakes.com), some of the seeds for that defeat will have been sown by Yallop himself, more than a decade ago.

The Stars come to Stanford’s Cagan Stadium under the guidance of former 10-year MLS veteran Manny Lagos (above, left with Troy Dayak and Ronnie Ekelund), who has helped Minnesota remain unbeaten in the North American Soccer League (4-0-5) and USOC play this year.

Buzz Lagos, Manny’s father and former longtime coach of the A-League’s Minnesota Thunder, is his son’s No. 1 coaching influence. But Yallop, who coached Lagos on the Quakes from 2001 to 2003, is in the running for the No. 2 slot.

“I put Frank right up there in terms of shaping my playing career, as well as how I look at a game and put together a roster,” Manny Lagos told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “There’s a ton of things I took from Frank in trying to shape myself as a coach.”

Lagos said he didn’t know if there was a specific advantage to be gained from facing a former coach, although it’s happening twice within the span of four days for him; Minnesota held the San Antonio Scorpions to a scoreless draw in NASL play this past Saturday. The expansion Scorpions are coached by Tim Hankinson, who also coached Lagos on the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1999 and 2000.

Yallop expects to see the Stars play in Lagos’ style, hustling at both ends of the pitch.

“Knowing Manny, he’ll be well-organized,” Yallop told MLSsoccer.com. “His dad was, as a coach. And he was an attacking player, but he always [fulfilled] his duties to defend. I think he realizes the two-way game of it. I loved having him as a player. It was great.”

Most of Lagos’ contemporaries with the Quakes have been scattered with the franchise’s 2005 move to Houston. In addition to being coached by Yallop, Lagos played alongside Ian Russell (now a San Jose assistant coach) and Ramiro Corrales, who continues on as the Quakes’ captain.

“It’s not a surprise,” Corrales said of seeing Lagos on the sideline. “I could see that. He always talked to the young guys a little bit, here and there. He was a good role model. I think he understands the game pretty well.”

Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com He can be reached at sanjosequakes@gmail.com.