When Chicago Fire FC parted ways with Raphael Wicky on September 30, it marked the seventh head coaching change of the 2021 MLS season. That follows six changes from 2020.

Atlanta United have since found a permanent replacement, with Gonzalo Pineda stepping in following Gabriel Heinze’s departure. While at Toronto FC, Javier Perez had his interim tag removed and was named head coach for the remainder of the 2021 MLS season – all following Chris Armas' departure.

Here’s a look at each of the coaching changes in 2021, with several posts still open.


  • Departed coach: Raphael Wicky
  • Interim coach: Frank Klopas
  • Incoming coach: To be determined

Following just under two seasons in charge, Chicago Fire FC parted ways with head coach Raphael Wicky after Week 28 action. Longtime Fire coach Frank Klopas took over on an interim basis, though isn't expected to be a candidate for the permanent role.

Wicky led the Fire to a 12W-25L-14D record during the MLS regular season. The club's set to miss the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the 10th time in 12 seasons, having also finished one place out of the expanded postseason last year.

The Swiss manager previously led the US U-17 men’s national team and Swiss Super League side FC Basel, where he crossed paths with Fire sporting director Georg Heitz.

  • Departed coach: Jaap Stam
  • Interim coach: Tyrone Marshall
  • Incoming coach: To be determined

FC Cincinnati relieved Jaap Stam of his duties as head coach after 16 months at the helm. The move comes nearly two months after the club parted ways with general manager Gerard Nijkamp in early August. At the time, the Orange & Blue were second-from-bottom in the Eastern Conference and overall MLS tables.

Assistant coach Said Bakkati, who came with Stam in 2020, and Yoann Damet, who twice served as FCC's interim head coach, also departed.

Tyrone Marshall, head coach of the club’s U-19 academy team and future U-23 side, was tabbed as interim head coach. The search for a permanent replacement is underway.

  • Departed coach: Luchi Gonzalez
  • Interim coach: Marco Ferruzzi
  • Incoming coach: To be determined

FC Dallas relieved Gonzalez of his duties following two-and-a-half years at the helm. Gonzalez compiled a 28-29-25 record, reaching the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in both of his first two seasons.

At the time of his departure, FC Dallas were 6-11-9 and winless in their last four matches, with a 3-2 Texas Derby defeat to Houston Dynamo FC his last game in charge. That put FCD at 11th place in the West, seven points below the playoff line with eight matches remaining.

Marco Ferruzzi, the club’s director of soccer operations, took over on an interim basis as the search for a permanent replacement got underway.


  • Departed coach: Marc Dos Santos
  • Interim coach: Vanni Sartini
  • Incoming coach: To be determined

Vancouver Whitecaps FC parted ways with head coach Marc Dos Santos on August 27, while assistant Philip Dos Santos also left the club.

Dos Santos was appointed head coach ahead of the 2019 season and compiled a 22-37-18 record. The Whitecaps were on an eight-match unbeaten streak at the time of Dos Santos’ departure.

Whitecaps FC director of methodology Vanni Sartini was named interim head coach, while sporting director and CEO Axel Schuster didn't hold back when explaining the move. Vancouver are firmly in the playoff hunt and looking to claim one of the West's top seven spots.

  • Departed coach: Freddy Juarez
  • Interim coach: Pablo Mastroeni
  • Incoming coach: To be determined

Also on August 27, Real Salt Lake and head coach Freddy Juarez parted ways with immediate effect. Juarez was then named a Seattle Sounders assistant coach on Sept. 1.

Juarez was initially named interim coach at RSL in August 2019 after the midseason departure of Mike Petke, leading the Claret & Cobalt to a Western Conference semifinal appearance that year. Juarez then got the official tag in December 2020, though they missed the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs during the pandemic-altered campaign.

Assistant coach Pablo Mastroeni was named interim coach as a search got underway. RSL are jockeying for playoff positioning in the jam-packed Western Conference.

  • Departed coach: Gabriel Heinze
  • Interim coach: Rob Valentino
  • Incoming coach: Gonzalo Pineda

Gabriel Heinze was relieved of his duties as Atlanta United head coach on July 18 after compiling a 2-4-7 record following his hire last December. The Argentine manager was previously at Vélez Sarsfield in his home country.

Assistant coach Rob Valentino took over on an interim basis before the club hired Gonzalo Pineda as head coach on August 12. Pineda was in the middle of his fifth season as a Seattle Sounders' assistant coach.

Buoyed by Valentino and then fueled by Pineda, the Five Stripes have surged into the Eastern Conference playoff picture and are searching for a top-four seed to earn a home game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.


  • Departed coach: Chris Armas
  • Interim coach: Javier Perez
  • Incoming coach: Javier Perez

The first head-coaching casualty of the 2021 season came on July 4 when Toronto FC relieved Chris Armas of his duties after just 11 matches, none of which were played in Toronto.

Armas, who helped head the New York Red Bulls to the 2018 Supporters' Shield, was hired to replace Greg Vanney on January 13. The club went 1-8-2 with Armas at the helm.

Javier Perez was named head coach for the remainder of the season and Toronto FC have since found middling results. TFC are last in the Eastern Conference and overall league table.