There are plenty of fine unemployed managers at this time (and surely more who can be had after the World Cup ends). Our honorable mentions — a blend of MLS assistants Marc Dos Santos at LAFC and Kerry Zavagnin at Sporting Kansas City with experienced foreign managers Matias Almeyda, Leonardo and Gertjan Verbeek — would actually make for a decent list.
But those guys didn't quite make our list. Here's who did, in alphabetical order)...
Guillermo Barros Schelotto
Guillermo Barros Schelotto is in the midst of a successful run as Boca Juniors coach | Reuters/Action Images
Now that he's guided his beloved Boca Juniors back to the top of the heap in Argentina, could Schelotto’s head be turned toward a job in a league he’s already admitted is in his future? It won't be an easy catch, as the former Columbus Crew SC star is still content with life in Buenos Aires. On the plus side, the Argentinean is among those on this list who prefer the 4-3-3 look that fits Orlando City's personnel.
Robin Fraser, who was previously the head coach at Chivas USA, is an assistant at Toronto FC | USA Today Sports
It's been well over five years since the former US national team defender last walked a sideline as a head coach. Although things certainly didn't go swimmingly with a Chivas USA franchise that was heading toward its end, Fraser has done a whole lot of learning since 2012. He's helped institute winning systems as an assistant with the New York Red Bulls and current employers Toronto FC, and can certainly offer sage advice to a back line in disarray.
James O'Connor has found success with Orlando and now Louisville City FC in USL | Courtesy Louisville City FC
The 38-year-old is both the youngest potential candidate on our list and the only one who has never drawn a paycheck from an MLS club. Neither of these facts should scare the Lions off. O'Connor, who helped Orlando celebrate a USL crown as player-coach in 2013, has excelled in leading Louisville City from their genesis. He wins (just missed the final twice before capturing the title last year), can develop players when given time (hello, Mark-Anthony Kaye!) and pulls off inventive tactics.
Like Jason Kreis, Caleb Porter has won an MLS Cup as head coach | USA Today Sports
The former Portland boss is similar to Kreis. Both know all the ins and outs of American soccer, and both have won an MLS Cup. Where they differ is precisely what makes Porter a better choice than the guy who's now out the door. The current OCSC roster contains plenty of players who would seemingly thrive in the "press and possess" style Porter favors. To boot, his system could pull some heat away from goalkeeper Joe Bendik and his beleaguered defense.
Columbus Crew SC assistant coach Josh Wolff has been credited with helping Justin Meram's development | USA Today Sports
Now in his fifth season as Gregg Berhalter's right-hand man in Columbus, Wolff is another guy well-versed in the ways of the 4-3-3. And let's not forget that slumping Lions winger Justin Meram has publicly credited the Crew SC assistant for helping his career take off. Perhaps he can get the attacking force he helped forge back to his best? That alone would make this team a threat to earn their first-ever playoff berth. Both the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake considered Wolff before making their most recent hires, so some team is going to snatch him up sooner or later.