Why was Carl Robinson let go now? Whitecaps president breaks down decision

Erik Hurtado - Vancouver Whitecaps FC - agony

VANCOUVER, B.C. – After five seasons in charge of the Vancouver Whitecaps, and seven at the club in total, Carl Robinson’s time as head coach is over, as is that of his assistant Martyn Pert and goalkeeper coach Stewart Kerr.

Senior management made the decision Monday, with Robinson and his coaching staff informed this morning, with the players told the news shortly after. 

Describing Robinson as being “very professional and admirable” when he got the news, Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said it was a tough decision for everyone involved.

“It’s never an easy decision to relieve your coaching staff, but this was a time where we felt it gave us the best chance to, for the most part, look at the longer term future, but also what we don’t want to do is to write off the playoff opportunity,” Lenarduzzi told reporters at Whitecaps training Tuesday morning. “We have a group of players that we feel confident in and we’ve put Craig Dalrymple in to oversee that process.”

The Whitecaps are four points below the playoff line, dropping to 8th place in the standings after Sunday’s 2-1 defeat to Western Conference leaders FC Dallas.

It was the Whitecaps second straight home loss, and with every point vital at this stage of the season, Lenarduzzi revealed that while the weekend’s result played a part in Robinson’s dismissal, there were a lot more factors that played into this move.

“It was disappointing,” Lenarduzzi said of the loss. “It may have resulted in us deciding that we do need to look ahead and give ourselves more time that we perhaps wouldn’t have if we continued, but there’s a lot of factors that have gone into it and it’s something we’ve thought long and hard on.”

Dalrymple, the club’s academy technical director, will take interim charge of the team until the end of the season, but Lenarduzzi made it clear that he will not be in the running to be the new head coach. The net for that position will be cast far and wide.

Instead, Dalrymple is tasked with taking the club into the postseason for the third time in the past four years. With five games to go, it’s going to be a tall order for the Whitecaps to get there, but they are still very much in with a chance.

That may have some fans questioning the timing of Robinson’s dismissal, but Lenarduzzi reiterated that the club still have the playoffs very much in mind and they’re certainly not writing the season off just yet.

“Over the last five games we’ll do everything we possibly can to ensure that we continue to battle for that playoff spot,” Lenarduzzi said. “This decision is one that is possibly more important in the longer term given that we don’t want to spend too much time in a static position. What this does is that it gives us the opportunity now to look at who the candidates are and also build an infrastructure that provides us with a greater chance of success. Our objective is to be a championship club. We’ve been a playoff club for the most part, but we’d like to go beyond that.”