Vancouver Whitecaps get "head start" on coaching search for 2019

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The search for the Vancouver Whitecaps' new head coach now begins in earnest following the dismissal of Carl Robinson Tuesday morning after five seasons in charge of the club.

There had been many murmurs in Vancouver in recent weeks that Robinson's time at the Whitecaps was coming to an end. With the team's playoff hopes seemingly fading, the decision was made to dismiss the Welshman now, allowing the club the maximum time possible to find his replacement.

"What we want to do is to give ourselves the best chance possible for a playoff spot and then beyond that, we want to get a head start on next year," Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi told reporters at training Tuesday morning. "The fact that we can start to do that now, and start to look at what we're looking for from that new head coach, is beneficial for the long haul."

Finding the right replacement is the Whitecaps’ priority now, and Lenarduzzi feels there is no need to rush the decision. What is key is finding the right fit. The right man to lead the club going forward and take it to the next level. To not just be a playoff team, but an actual contender with a realistic shot at winning MLS Cup.

"What we want is the right guy," Lenarduzzi said. "We want to give ourselves enough time to make sure that we do all the exploratory work and investigative work that we can do to give us the best chance of acquiring the best person that's out there.

"I certainly don't want to put a timeline on it at this point, but we'd like to get it done as quickly as possible, but not at the expense of perhaps getting the right candidate."

One name that has already been touted as a possible successor for Robinson is Canadian Marc Dos Santos. The current LAFC assistant has also been linked with the vacant San Jose Earthquakes head coaching position, and brings a track record that will see him coveted by many clubs.

Lenarduzzi said that interest, along with other MLS clubs that may soon be looking for new coaches, did "not necessarily" influence the timing of Robinson's departure and denied that the club had already started to look for his replacement.

But he did acknowledge that he expects there to be a lot of interest in the job, especially with a promised increased playing budget thanks to the club's Alphonso Davies windfall.

"We haven't approached that," Lenarduzzi said. "That's primarily because we had a coach in place. I think we operate in a way where we try and do things the proper way, but now that the decision's been made, what we'll look to do is establish what that criteria is that we're looking for in a head coach, and it'll be a global search.

"I'm sure there will be plenty of interest from people who think they can do the job, and then we also will have our eyes out for people that we think can come in and do a good job for us."