Bob Bradley - LAFC head coach at supporters' town hall
Courtesy of LAFC

New head coaches making mark with prominent signings

This Week in MLS – February 12, 2018
  • New head coaches making mark with prominent signings
  • MLS Regular Season countdown to feature drama-filled rematch in Charleston
  • Five MLS sides eying CONCACAF Champions League slate
 
New head coaches making mark with prominent signings
The season’s six new Major League Soccer head coaches are making early impressions on their clubs with new player signings ahead of the start of the 2018 season. Following in the footsteps of last year’s debut coaching success stories such as Houston Dynamo’s Wilmer Cabrera and Atlanta United’s Tata Martino, the six new leaders each bring a unique style with hopes of advancing their squads to the postseason during their first year at the helm.
 
Los Angeles Football Club’s Bob Bradley looks to make a big splash, bringing in four players who could participate in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, including newcomers Carlos Vela (Mexico) and Omar Gaber (Egypt), along with MLS veterans Marco Ureña (Costa Rica) and Laurent Ciman (Belgium). In addition, LAFC traded for Benny Feilhaber, a member of the 2010 U.S. Men’s National World Cup team coached by Bradley. Montreal’s new boss Rémi Garde, formerly of Ligue 1’s Lyon and English side Aston Villa, meanwhile brings in Designated Player Saphir Taïder from Bologna following a 2014 World Cup appearance with Algeria.
 
Continuing with World Cup hopefuls, Giovanni Savarese welcomes 23-year-old Peruvian midfielder Andy Polo to Portland. Five of the six newcomers to the Timbers this offseason have experience playing for their national teams, including 19-year-old Cristhian Paredes (Paraguay) and 24-year-old Julio Cascante (Costa Rica). Staying in the Western Conference, San Jose’s Mikael Stahre enters his debut MLS season with Designated Player signing Magnus Eriksson, the leading goalscorer in 2017 in Sweden’s top division.
 
Rounding out the group of six new head coaches are a pair of managers with experience leading national teams. U.S. legend Brad Friedel moves from coaching the U.S. U-19 squad to New England, bringing with him forward Cristian Penilla, on loan from Mexican club Pachuca. Colorado Rapids coach Anthony Hudson, meanwhile, joins the club after a successful stint as the New Zealand National Team coach. Hudson brings with him Scottish National Team defender Danny Wilson, New Zealand World Cup veteran Tommy Smith and U.S. Men’s National Team defender Edgar Castillo.
 
New MLS Head Coaches in 2018
Anthony Hudson – Colorado Rapids
Bob Bradley – Los Angeles Football Club
Rémi Garde – Montreal Impact
Brad Friedel – New England Revolution
Giovanni Savarese – Portland Timbers
Mikael Stahre – San Jose Earthquakes
 
 
MLS Regular Season countdown to feature drama-filled rematch in Charleston
MLS clubs are only 19 days away from start of the 2018 MLS Regular Season, and preseason intensity could be nearing an all-time high with the stage undoubtedly set for drama in Charleston.
 
Atlanta United and Columbus Crew SC will kick off the opening match of the Carolina Challenge Cup on Saturday, February 17, in a match that marks their first meeting between these two clubs since the down-to-the-wire, postseason thriller that saw Crew SC prevail in penalty kicks in the Knockout Round.
 
With shiny new personnel on both sides of this matchup, Atlanta’s midfield is benefiting from veteran playmaker Darlington Nagbe as a welcomed complement to Miguel Almirón in a center of the park that also includes 18-year-old Ezequiel Barco. Crew SC, meanwhile, is seeing the fruits of its key signing in forward Gyasi Zardes, who netted a brace last week at the Pacific Rim Cup. Friday action will also feature Minnesota United FC facing tournament host and USL side the Charleston Battery before the round-robin format pits the Loons against Crew SC and the club’s expansion-year rival Atlanta United.
 
 
Five MLS sides eying CONCACAF Champions League slate
As MLS teams prepare for their fourth week of preseason action, a group of five clubs is focused on an important stretch in CONCACAF Champions League action one week later. The first leg of the 16-team tournament takes place Feb. 20-22, opening with the Colorado Rapids hosting 2017 MLS champions Toronto FC on Feb. 20 (10 p.m. ET). FC Dallas, the New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders FC will also partake in the event, and several among this group have undergone a tough offseason slate to get set for CCL.
 
Toronto spent the early part of the month in Mexico City and faced Liga MX powerhouse Club América last Thursday, highlighted by a brace from Jozy Altidore. While the Reds will be involved in an all-MLS Round of 16, the preparation in elevation certainly was a benefit heading into Commerce City, Colo. FC Dallas’ preseason recently featured matches against Central American clubs, including a 1-1 draw against El Salvador’s Santa Tecla FC and a 3-1 victory against Costa Rica’s CS Cartaginés – the latter featuring goals from three Dallas defenders.
 
The tournament winner qualifies for the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup hosted by the United Arab Emirates in December. Below is the CONCACAF Champions League schedule for the five MLS teams in the Round of 16:
 
CONCACAF Champions League Schedule
Leg 1
Tuesday, Feb. 20
Colorado Rapids vs. Toronto FC, 10 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Feb. 21
Tauro FC vs. FC Dallas, 8 p.m. ET
Thursday, Feb. 22
CD Olimpia vs. New York Red Bulls, 10 p.m. ET
Santa Tecla FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 10 p.m. ET
 
Leg 2
Tuesday, Feb. 27
Toronto FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 8 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Feb. 28
FC Dallas vs. Tauro FC, 8 p.m. ET
Thursday, March 1
New York Red Bulls vs. CD Olimpia, 8 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Santa Tecla FC, 10 p.m. ET

 

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