FC Cincinnati have relieved head coach Alan Koch of his duties, the club announced Tuesday. Yoann Damet will serve in the role of interim head coach as the club conduct a search for their next manager.
Cincy are tied for bottom of the Eastern Conference with eight points from their first 11 games. The club are winless in their last seven matches, failing to score in their last five games, and have scored a league-low eight goals.
“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,” president Jeff Berding said in a statement. “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."
The dismissal comes less than a week after Koch publicly proclaimed he needed additional players to succeed.
"Luke [Sassano] and his staff are trying to find additional players," Koch said after FC Cincy's 2-0 loss at Philadelphia last Wednesday. "We’ve only had one window as a club. We have another window coming up where we need to find additional players to improve the group. I think we’re very aware of it. It’s a project. You can’t play a group like Philly tonight and they’ve got quality players."
Star striker Fanendo Adi has also voiced his frustration multiple times since joining the club, including after the Orange and Blue's loss at San Jose on Saturday.
“We just need to have an identity. We don’t have an identity yet,” Adi told the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Pat Brennan. “Of course, we’re a new team and a bunch of new players but we change formation and, you know, it’s no good. We just have to have an identity and that’s what is missing right now.”
Damet, 29, joined Cincy in 2017 from the Montreal Impact, immediately becoming the club's top assistant.
“I am confident that Yoann will immediately infuse the locker room and soccer staff with a positive energy and team approach,” Berding said. “He is respected and trusted and will lead the hard work that gets the best out of our players.”
Koch helped guide Cincy to the 2018 USL regular season title, though were eliminated in the conference semifinal. He is the second coach to be dismissed in 2019, six days after the Colorado Rapids parted ways with Anthony Hudson.
Damet will lead Cincy against the Impact on Saturday (1 pm ET | TSN, TVAS in Canada, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US).