Report: DC United to hire US-based coach in next two weeks

Gonzalo Pineda (thumb only) - Seattle Sounders

UPDATE (Dec. 11, 4:30 pm ET): Seattle Sounders assistant coach Gonzalo Pineda will reportedly get a second interview for the D.C. United coaching job and is considered one of four finalists, according to Steve Goff of the Washington Post. Pineda, a former Mexican international, is in his fourth year as a Sounders assistant coach. He reportedly is joined by former New York Red Bulls coach Chris Armas, ex-US women's national team coach Jill Ellis and Manchester City assistant Rodolfo Burrell as finalists. 

Armas was previously considered the frontrunner and Columbus Crew SC assistant Ezra Hendrickson was also interviewed, though reportedly has been told he's out of the running. Pineda's involvement in MLS Cup Saturday (8:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info) has prompted a delayed second interview.

UPDATE (Dec. 3, 10:30 am ET): Former New York Red Bulls coach Chris Armas has emerged as a front-runner for the D.C. United coaching job, Steven Goff of the Washington Post reports. Armas, who was 29W-21L-11D in his time as an MLS head coach, helping lead the Red Bulls to a Supporters' Shield title, is reportedly among at least three candidates and one of a few to advance beyond the initial round of interviews and speak with D.C. United chairmen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan. But Goff reports Armas' MLS head coaching experience appears to give him the edge.

With the news of Greg Vanney's departure from Toronto FC still reverberating around the league, another head coaching search in the Eastern Conference is reportedly entering its home stretch.

According to a Tuesday report from Steven Goff of The Washington Post, D.C. United are expected to announce a decision on their next coach in the next two weeks and that the club are likely to make the hire a US-based candidate.

D.C. have been considering a list of potential candidates following the October departure of longtime head coach Ben Olsen, who had manned the sidelines for the club since 2010 and is expected to remain with the organization in a front office role.

While the the club has been in contact with international candidates, Goff reported that the club is leaning towards a domestic option.

The front-runner candidates for the position are reportedly Chad Ashton, who took over on an interim basis after Olsen's departure, former New York Red Bulls coach Chris Armas, longtime MLS assistant coaches Ezra Hendrickson, Pat Noonan and Gonzalo Pineda, as well as former US women's national team World Cup-winner Jill Ellis.

Whoever gets the job will be tasked with turning around a D.C. club that endured a difficult 2020 season that saw them finish with 21 points and second-from-the-bottom on the Eastern Conference table, although they did manage something of a late-season resurgence under Ashton and were only officially eliminated from postseason contention on the final day of the regular season.