Kick Off: Expected and unexpected coaching changes for Real Salt Lake and Montreal Impact
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. NEW HEAD COACH FOR REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake named the man to succeed Jason Kreis on Wednesday, and it came as little surprise to those in hte know in Salt Lake City. They have offically promoted assistant coach Jeff Cassar as the replacement to Kreis, and they'll unveil him at a press conference in Utah on Thursday. Cassar has not only been with RSL since 2007, but was also on the same Miami Fusion team as Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman and Salt Lake GM Garth Lagerwey. Cassar's biggest point during the interview process? Given the team's success, why they would look outside for a new coach?
2. KLOPAS HEADS NORTH
The Montreal Impact's uncertain coaching situation was finally resolved on Wednesday by hiring Frank Klopas to replace Marco Schallibaum to lead the way in 2014. Klopas signed a three-year contract and has also been named Director of Player Personnel, with Sporting Director Nick de Santis telling reporters that the team's new hire "completely understands our vision and philosophy."
3. DC ADD FIREPOWER
Wednesday saw the second phase of the Re-Entry Draft, with eight players picked up by clubs. D.C. United chose to add Fabian Espindola to the squad with the first overall pick, and then added. Canadian international defender Nana Attakora. However, it wasn’t all good news on for United on Wednesday when it comes to their future,, as it seems complications with the Reeves center could delay the club's proposed new stadium.
4. CANADA SELECTS
Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps each made one selection in phase two of the Re-Entry Draft. Toronto made a big statement with their decision to bring Dwayne DeRosario back to his former club. The Whitecaps, meanwhile, chose to add Mehdi Ballouchy, the 30-year-old midfielder most recently of the San Jose Earthquakes. However, there was bigger news for the Whitecaps on Wednesday as the club signed a new TV deal with TSN, meaning the network will broadcast all of Vancouver’s games next season.
5. SOUNDERS TAKE TWO
The Seattle Sounders made two acquisitions during Wednesday's Re-Entry Draft, selecting Chad Barrett and Corey Hertzog. And it seems Designated Player Clint Dempsey is finalizing terms of a two-month loan with Fulham FC.
6. SAN JOSE FILL THE D
The San Jose Earthquakes also picked up two players in the form of Shaun Francis and Brandon Barklage. Both of whom could help fill the Earthquakes defensive needs.
7. DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
While FC Dallas chose not to take anyone in the Re-Entry Draft, it doesn’t mean they won’t be active. The club is still working on new contracts for Zach Loyd and Peter Luccin, and technical director Fernando Clavijo has revealed they still intend to use all three Designated Player spots next season, even going so far as to explain what they would be looking for in those roles.
8. STATE OF THE UNION
The Philadelphia Union were inactive in the second phase of the Re-Entry Draft, and they’re also apparently in no rush to offer Homegrown contracts to some of the standouts from the College Cup. Yet, as the Union’s technical director Rob Vartughian suggests “I just think from where we are and what we’re looking to do we feel good about the direction we are going…” While that direction may not involve Carlos Valdes, could it include a former league MVP?
9. JAIRO’S BACK
The Columbus Crew made a significant move to shore up their offensive group on Wednesday by re-signing Jairo Arrieta. Head coach Gregg Berhalter exclaimed, “Jairo has the talent to score goals and we look forward to his continued contributions in 2014.” However, the big news was actually let slip a couple of hours before hand when Arrieta tweeted that he would be returning.
10. THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS
With Real Salt Lake and the Montreal Impact both hiring new coaches on Wednesday that leaves just FC Dallas and Chivas USA in search of new men for the sideline. While Dallas have said they should have an announcement this week, the answer as to who will take over Chivas is anyone’s guess. Despite discussions, Curt Onalfo is apparently out of the running. And while the club certainly has some issues to deal with, have certain pieces been falling into place that could make the club more enticing for players?
11. EXPAND AND AFFILIATE
The USL PRO has announced yet another expansion side for the 2015 season, with Tulsa becoming the latest city to join the league. It means that from having six teams in 2010, the league will soon have grown to 15. Certainly that’s a great sign for MLS sides looking for affiliates, but are the San Jose Earthquakes trying to block such a link between Sacramento Republic and the Portland Timbers?
12. COACH NIELSEN
One of the most interesting things in the SI.com article on the USL was the news that recently retired Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen could be in line to become the first head coach of Oklahoma City Energy. That report was then followed by a tweet from Jimmy Nielsen that suggests the move is on.
13. KLINSMANN FANCIES US CHANCES
Despite the Guardian proclaiming the US have the toughest group and the third-toughest draw at the 2014 World Cup (behind only Australia and Ghana), head coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes “We don’t see ourselves as outsiders.” In a revealing interview in which the US boss talks about resigning from the German national team, expectations next summer and pursuing Julian Green, Klinsmann also states this: “We know that on a good day, we can take on the best in the world.”
14. BRADLEY CHALLENGES CEILING
Bob Bradley is still in the hunt for a coaching job in Europe, but some could argue that the Vancouver Whitecaps job would have been bigger than leading Norwegian side Stabaek. However, Bradley is determined to make it in Europe and, in the process, perhaps shatter a glass ceiling that seems to exist for American coaches.
15. THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES
US Soccer has revealed the single greatest moment from its 100 year history as part of its centennial celebrations and, believe it or not, it wasn’t Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria that came out on top. Instead it was Abby Wambach’s late header against Brazil took the award. That decision certainly splits the room, but one thing we can all agree on is that this moment from the U-17’s recent game against Brazil isn’t going to be up there anytime soon (skip to 1:52:30).