Real Salt Lake are making headway in their search for a new head coach, and current interim boss Pablo Mastroeni is among those in consideration for the full-time role, general manager Elliot Fall said in an interview with ESPN 700.
RSL have been led by Mastroeni since the departure of former head coach Freddy Juarez in August. Juarez left to become an assistant coach with the Seattle Sounders.
"We’ve spent an insane number of hours on it over the last month, month and a half," Fall told host Spence Checketts. "It’s been a really exhaustive process. We’ve tried to be really diligent about being deliberate. Going through, asking the right questions, getting the right people, having conversations with all the right people — we had an initial round of interviews with well over a dozen people. We’ve narrowed that list down to finalists are in the process of doing those final round of interviews, and also scheduling some of the final round of interviews.
"We’re trying to make the right decision, and the best decision for this club in the long-term. I guess the update is, we are well along the process. We’ve had a lot of great conversations, and I expect we’ll have some more great conversations. Then we’re going to have make a decision, what’s best both short-term and long-term for the club."
RSL have gone 4-4-0 in eight games under Mastroeni since Juarez's departure, remaining a factor in the Western Conference's Audi MLS Cup Playoffs race. The club currently occupies the No. 5 spot on the table with 39 points from 28 matches.
Fall said from what he's seen so far, Mastroeni has at least earned serious consideration for the permanent position, even if the club will continue to also evaluate candidates from outside the organization.
Mastroeni does have extensive experience in MLS, first as a player with the Colorado Rapids, a club he would later go on to coach from 2014-17, leading Colorado to the 2016 Western Conference Championship. He also spent a brief stint during his playing career with the LA Galaxy in 2013.
"Absolutely. Pablo’s a leader," Fall said of Mastroeni's prospects. "He’s an honest, genuine leader. He’s passionate. He loves the group, he loves the players, he loves to lead them, and I think he’s really having a lot of fun. I also think it’s important to note, the way things go week-in and week-out aren’t the only things in the conversation. Look, in the last week, we’ve had both sides of it, obviously. We’ve had tough results and great results.
"It’s important we don’t ride that rollercoaster in the decision-making process. It’s important we be pragmatic and analytical about each part of it. I would also say, Pablo hasn’t had the opportunity of having a preseason and really putting his stamp on the group. I think what we’re seeing right now is a bit of what Pablo believes in and the leader Pablo is, but it’s not the full Pablo Mastroeni. That’s the only thing I’d say to the fanbase to keep in mind — there’s more to it than just the last seven or eight games."