Robert Warzycha, a former player for Everton of the English Premier League who spent the past 18 years with the Columbus Crew, was fired Monday as coach of the Major League Soccer squad.
Brian Bliss, an American who has been the club's technical director, will handle the coaching duties on an interim basis and is a candidate to become the full time replacement for Warzycha, a 50-year-old former Poland international.
"We thought it was in the best interest of the club and the coaches to make the change at this time," said Crew president Mark McCullers.
The Crew have dropped seven of their past ten matches and are eighth in the Eastern Conference with eight matches remaining. They are eight points out of fifth place with hope of a late charge into the playoffs.
"Time will tell, but I know Brian Bliss is an exceptionally good coach," McCullers said. "I know it's going to change the team dynamic. It's going to be a different voice. It's going to be a different perspective.
"I'm hoping and I'm very optimistic that this is going to spark the team and that we're going to make a run at the playoffs and try to get in this year."