Minnesota United coach Carl Craig hopes to stay on when the team moves to MLS next season, but hasn't heard if he's in the team's plans, he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press Tuesday.
“I’ll accept whatever happens,” Craig told the paper. “It wasn’t a good season. … To mitigate circumstances, there is often a fall guy, and sometimes it’s the coach.”
In his first year as coach, Craig guided the Loons to an 11-13-8 record and a fifth place finish in the NASL, missing the playoffs in the 12-team league. United had an outside chance to sneak into the playoffs (the top four make it) in the last game of the season last weekend, but their hopes were dashed with a 1-0 loss to the New York Cosmos.
The Loons will begin play in MLS in 2017, along with fellow expansion club Atlanta United. According to ESPN, Minnesota has a list of potential coaching candidates that includes Adrian Heath, who guided expansion Orlando City when it entered MLS in 2015 but was fired this season.
Craig, 51, hails from Newcastle, England, and after playing in Newcastle's youth system, he eventually got his coaching license and moved to Minnesota in 1994. He had served as the top assistant to head coach Manny Lagos when the team -- then known as the Minnesota Stars -- won the NASL title in 2011. He took over as head coach when Lagos was promoted to Sporting Director last December.
He told the Pioneer Press if he isn't retained as coach by United, he would be open to staying with the club in another capacity.