D.C. United became the second MLS club of the 2022 season to make a head coaching change with Wednesday's announced departure of Hernan Losada just over one year after his stateside arrival. United are amid a four-game skid and currently sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with a 2W-4L-0D record.
So, where do the Black-and-Red go from here? That was a lengthy topic of discussion on the latest episode of MLS Today, where host David Gass was joined by D.C.-based MLSsoccer.com national writer Charles Boehm for a deep dive on the lead-up to Losada's departure and the future direction of the club.
Losada will be replaced on an interim basis by assistant Chad Ashton, who also served on an interim basis after the departure of Ben Olsen in 2020. Ashton is well-regarded at the club, and Boehm said he expects him to serve out the season with a chance to potentially prove himself for the permanent role.
"Chad Ashton has been around for a long time," Boehm said. "I don't know how much he's going to change the tactics. I think probably things will be a little bit less hair-on-fire tempo-wise, but he's not the type that's going to make drastic changes in that sense. He'll be a steady hand, he seems to be really well-liked and respected by the players.
"He's very much a contrast to Losada in terms of his personality. Again, it certainly sounds like he's going to get a long look and given an opportunity [to show] what he can do with a squad that I think, I'll just say that the rest of the club thinks more of them than Losada did based on his public utterances."
Gass and Boehm also dished out a few names that could make sense for D.C. to bring in from outside the organization, with Gass citing former FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez as a seemingly logical fit. Gonzalez has extensive experience in MLS from his time coaching in the academy and first team at FC Dallas. However, a hire would likely have to wait until after he's done serving his current duty as a US men's national team assistant at the 2022 World Cup.
"My list starts with Luchi Gonzalez," Gass said. "Again, not a guy who will be available this year because he's going to go to a World Cup. But he's somebody who wants to be a head coach, obviously has experience, makes a ton of sense. We already connected him with the San Jose job, whether he wants it or not. I think he goes in that conversation with [Oscar] Pareja. And for me, everyone else is an assistant or a head coach in a lower division that could come in."
Boehm said one of the names he had in mind was El Salvador national team head coach Hugo Perez, who has drawn positive reviews for the job he's done pushing El Salvador's program forward.
"I think off the bat that makes a lot of sense," Boehm said. "He's been connected to the Quakes job too, he has some Bay Area ties, but we also have a number of certain points of appeal for D.C. United. The Salvadorian community in this region is one of the largest in the country.
"It is one that the club has struggled, I would say, to connect with ever since the move to Audi Field and, I would say for certain members of the punditry and the fanbase, it's one of those unknowns in terms of could you grow the relevance, the size of the attendance, of everything, if you could connect with that population better. And Hugo would certainly give you that option if he's ready to move on from his time in charge of the El Salvador national team."