Preki's record speaks for itself

Steven Sandor, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:13 PM ET

Toronto FC will introduce it’s fourth head coach in team history — Predrag (Preki) Radosavljevic Thursday morning at BMO Field.

Preki led Chivas USA to the playoffs each of the last three seasons, and was named MLS coach of the year in 2007. As a player, Preki was two-time MLS MVP.

Preki and TFC director of soccer Mo Johnston were teammates with Kansas City from 1996 to 2000.

Preki’s contract with the Goats expired at the end of the 2009 season, and they agreed they would not seek a new one by “mutual consent.”

League sources indicated that there was more than one team interested in Preki’s services. And Chivas brass hinted that it knew that the Belgrade-born, U.S.-raised coach would soon be getting a new job.

“His dedication and expertise have led us to the playoffs in each of his seasons here, and we owe him our thanks for all he has given the club. We wish him the very best as he moves into the next phase of his coaching career,” Chivas USA Vice President of Soccer Operations Stephen Hamilton said in a release.

Preki compiled an impressive 40-29-21 regular-season record with Chivas, but his teams have struggled in the playoffs. In six career playoff games as a coach, he has yet to win one.

Preki is a defence-first coach who doesn’t like to use any players in free roles. He preaches that the system, usually a rigid 4-4-2, is the thing. In 2009, Chivas scored 34 times, and gave up just 31 in 30 games.

“Everybody on the field knows his role,” Chivas star midfielder Sacha Kljestan said earlier this season of playing under Preki. “Our four defenders and four midfielders work very hard for each other, and we cover each other’s butts.”

But the defence-first style has riled some who have played for him in the past, notably Amado Guevara, who was told in 2007 by Preki that he was no longer needed at Chivas after the coach questioned the player’s desire. The last straw came after Preki took Guevara out of a game against city rivals the Los Angeles Galaxy, then blasted him afterwards.

Guevara, a TFC regular, would either be reunited with the coach who canned him or would have to move on.


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