Whitecaps fire head coach Teitur Thordarson

Teitur Thordarson

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The Vancouver Whitecaps have fired head coach Teitur Thordarson, the club announced on Monday.

Tom Soehn, who has been the club’s director of soccer operations for the past year-and-a-half, has been named as Thordarson’s replacement. He will be on the bench when the Whitecaps face Chivas USA on Wednesday night (10:30 pm ET, watch online). The club also announced the departure of goalkeeping coach Mike Salmon.

“Teitur and Mike have served the club extremely well in recent seasons but we feel that today’s changes are necessary in order to accelerate the process of turning around our difficult start to the season,” Whitecaps FC chief executive officer Paul Barber said in a statement. “We wish Teitur and Mike well for the future.”

The 59-year-old Thordarson first took the reins at Vancouver in 2008 season, when the club was still in the second division. In the Icelandic coach’s first season in charge, he led the Whitecaps to the 2008 USL-1 title. His ’Caps returned to the final the following year, but lost to the Montreal Impact.

In September of 2010, he was named head coach of Whitecaps FC ahead of the club’s ascension to MLS. He made his MLS coaching debut on March 19 with a thrilling 4-2 home win over Canadian rivals Toronto FC.

However, the Whitecaps have yet to win since that season opener. They currently lie at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 1-5-6 record.

Thordarson departs the Vancouver organization with a combined regular-season record of 37 wins, 27 losses, and 38 draws, in both the second division and MLS.

Soehn, who played five seasons in MLS with Dallas and Chicago, brings a decade of coaching experience. He was an assistant for the Chicago Fire (2001-2003) and D.C. United (2003-2007). He was then head coach of D.C. United from 2007 through 2009. Over three seasons, he posted a 36-30-24 regular-season record. His sides won the Supporters’ Shield in 2007 and the US Open Cup in 2008.

Soehn’s tenure with United came to a close when his contract ended after the 2009 season, the second in a row in which the four-time MLS Cup winners missed the playoffs. Amid reports that the club was still weighing his performance and a decision on a contract renewal, he removed his name from consideration for the position, effectively resigning his post.

“Tommy brings extensive experience in Major League Soccer, and in the past year, has immersed himself in the culture of our club. Supported by Denis Hamlett and Colin Miller, we have an excellent balance of Whitecaps and MLS knowledge and expertise,” Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi said in a statement.