SANDY, Utah – An eight-game winless streak to end the season didn't cost Real Salt Lake head coach Jeff Cassar his job. It did keep him from some extra security, though.
The disappointing finish to the season was an indicator of struggles – but those are more indicative of the club's ongoing transition rather Cassar being out of his depth according to RSL general manager and former Cassar assistant Craig Waibel.
"We’re in a good spot moving forward," Waibel told reporters on Thursday. "We have a good plan in place and we feel comfortable with Jeff and some of the other dynamics and shifts we have planned for this offseason."
Cassar has a one-year guarantee with two options that have requirements associated with them. Talks started in July when RSL were playing well – and Cassar acknowledged had they also wrapped up in the summer, it would have been better for him.
"As a coach, you want security, You want to have time to have your plan come to fruition," Cassar said. "I completely understand this is a results business.
"As a person and the way I was brought up, that’s how it works. At the end of the day, if we do well, we’ll have a job and I can wrap my head around that. I really can."
The continued transition of the coaching staff, organization, formation and roster are at the point where further success is needed. Just making the Audi 2016 MLS Cup playoffs as the sixth seed in the Western Conference isn’t where RSL has its sights set.
"Every year the expectations should go up," Waibel said, "and every year the expectations deserve to go up."
The finish to the season puts the transition in perspective; it won't be smooth, but the front office expects results.
"We didn’t like the end of the season because we didn’t win," Waibel said.
Moving forward, finding a solution to the tough stretches is something Cassar will have to figure out.
"We lost our way a little bit," Cassar said. "It was a massive learning experience for myself and the staff. We’re all going to be better for going through it."
"Better" is what's expected when it comes to results, Waibel said.
“The accomplishments need to get greater,” he said. “[It was] great for the first three years of a coach’s career. I'm not proud of the last eight games, not at all. Neither one of us is. We're not happy with how we finished.”