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The Pitch: Young Coaches Getting Their Shots in MLS

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This weekend’s marquee matchups include the first Copa Tejas and Cascadia Cup rivalry games of 2024, a tantalizing battle between the queen cities, and an Eastern Conference clash between Atlanta United and Chicago Fire FC on Sunday.

  • Charlotte FC vs. FC Cincinnati (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV): After handing the reigning MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew their first loss of 2024, Charlotte may have unlocked the “giant killer” mentality that defined the club’s inaugural 2022 season and will look to hand the unbeaten, reigning Supporters’ Shield winner FC Cincinnati their first loss the season as well.
  • Austin FC vs. FC Dallas (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV): Form goes out the window when it comes to rivalry games and while Dallas historically leads this rivalry with a 5-1-2 record, this Saturday could be the spark needed for Austin to secure their first win of the season.
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Portland Timbers (10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV): The forwards have found their stride just in time for this rivalry game as Vancouver’s Brian White has a goal and two assists in his last two games and newcomer Jonathan Rodríguez scored in his debut for the Timbers in their last time out.
  • Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire FC (3:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV / FOX): The Fire’s Hugo Cuypers is hot with two goals in his last two games. Chicago is looking to extend their unbeaten streak to three as they travel to Atlanta, where they have never won.
Young Coaches Getting Their Shots in MLS

Major Leagues Soccer continues to foster an environment that allows some of the brightest young head coaches from around the world to compete at the top level. Minnesota United FC’s appointment of 32-year-old Eric Ramsay from Manchester United to the helm was the most recent prospective head coaching hire across the league.

Entering Matchday 7, 11 MLS head coaches are 45 years old or younger and the average age of all MLS head coaches is 47.7 years old, which is younger than each of the traditional top five European men’s soccer leagues.

  • Six of the last 10 Supporters’ Shield-winning head coaches were 45 years old or younger at the time of winning.
  • Four of the last 10 MLS Cup-winning head coaches were 45 years old or younger at the time of winning.

The Philadelphia Union’s Jim Curtin, who is the second-longest tenured MLS head coach since his hire in 2014 at the age of 34, was a Supporters’ Shield winner in 2020 and Leagues Cup 2023 semifinalist. In 2022, Steve Cherundolo (LAFC) became the third-youngest head coach to win both the Shield and MLS Cup in the same season before leading his side to the Concacaf Champions Cup Final in 2023.

In 2024, head coaches under the age of 45 have held a slight edge against their senior counterparts with a 15-13-10 record.

Teams to Watch at the 2024 GA Cup_v2

The stars of tomorrow are on display when the 2024 Generation adidas Cup kicks off this Saturday, March 30, with select matches streaming on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app. With the world’s best young players descending upon Florida, here are a few teams to look out for:

  • Chicago Fire FC (U-17) – The U-17 Fire squad has been dominant in MLS NEXT play this season, producing a 6-1-1 record and averaging more than three goals scored per game. Chicago’s academy has produced some of the top MLS talent in recent years, including Chris Brady, Brian Gutiérrez, and Gabriel ‘Gaga’ Slonina. The Fire will face the San Jose Earthquakes, CF Montréal, and AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands) in their U-17 group.
  • Philadelphia Union (U-17) – After making the U-17 age group final in 2023, the Union look ready to return to the final a strong start in MLS NEXT league play. Led by Cavan Sullivan, who made his MLS NEXT Pro debut on Sunday and contributed the game-winning assist, the Union will open play against Atlas F.C. (Mexico) this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app.
  • Colorado Rapids (U-15) – Colorado’s U-15 side has come out as one of the strongest teams in the age group in 2024 with a 6-1-4 record, including wins in two of their last three games. Their road to the knockouts includes tests against reigning champions Austin FC as well as Spanish powerhouses Valencia CF in Group C.
  • K.R.C. Genk (U-15) – The best performing international side in 2023 (semifinalists), Belgium’s K.R.C. Genk return to the competition this season with a trophy in their sights. Genk will be led by Jelle Driessen, who captains the Belgian U-15 National Team, in a loaded Group I with FC Dallas, Inter Miami CF, and the Philadelphia Union.
Kicking it Around
  • FC Dallas players embarked on a heartwarming visit to Children’s Health, where they brought joy and inspiration to young patients through engaging activities, uplifting conversations, and shared moments of encouragement and support. (Instagram)
  • LAFC mascot, Olly, renowned as the fastest falcon in LAFC history, sparked excitement around the stadium when the bird took flight from the falconer's grasp. Fans became concerned after Olly disappeared for an extended period, leaving some to wonder if she had ventured beyond the confines of the stadium. (X, formerly known as Twitter)
  • Amidst a downpour during the national anthem, players from the New York Red Bulls displayed a touching gesture by removing their jackets and offering them to the children accompanying them on the field. (X, formerly known as Twitter)
From the Spot - New York Red Bulls Lewis Morgan

The New York Red Bulls are off to a hot start in 2024, sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference with 10 points (3-1-1) following a 4-0 win over Inter Miami CF on Saturday. Powering that start has been Scottish midfielder Lewis Morgan , whose return to the field following a season-long battle with injuries in 2023 has given the Red Bulls a boost in their attack.

Morgan – the MLS Player of Matchday 6 – led the Red Bulls in scoring with 14 goals in 2022 and was poised to become the key contributor in the club’s attack the following season. However, a hip injury suffered in the final game of 2022 led to a season-ending surgery for Morgan ahead of 2023.

Now back to full health, the 27-year-old Morgan is fulfilling his breakout potential through just five matches and sits tied atop the MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi standings with five goals, including a hat trick on Matchday 6 and game-winning scores in each of the club’s three victories to start the year.

“I feel like I’ve got some time to make up for,” said Morgan after his first goal of the season on March 2, “so hopefully tonight can be the start of it.”

Playing alongside star offseason acquisition Emil Forsberg and a keen facilitator in Dante Vanzeir, who owns a league-best five assists in 2024, the opportunities will be ever-present for Morgan, who looks to emerge as one of the most dangerous attacking players in MLS.

MLS Media Resources

To assist in your coverage of the 2024 MLS season, the MLS Communications staff has provided the following media resources, all of which are available on

  • 2024 MLS Season Preview | Link
  • 2024 MLS Statistics and Standings | Link
  • 2024 MLS Competition Guidelines | Link
  • Club Game Notes | Link
  • Post-Match Quote Sheets | Link
  • Weekly Stat Packs | Link
  • MLS Pool Reporters | Link
  • MLS PR on Twitter/X | Link
  • MLS Logos | Link
  • MLS Communications and PRO Contacts | Link
  • Club Communications Contacts & Media Resource Websites | Link