There's one candidate that makes sense for all three clubs and has been linked, loosely or not, to the treble. That one candidate has unique ties to South America and MLS; He happens to be without a club, too.
After leading Boca Juniors to the precipice of Copa Libertadores glory, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and the club parted ways — just in time for the MLS offseason. His nascent six-year managerial career has already forced expansion to his vast trophy cabinet, winning Copa Sudamericana with Lanus then back-to-back Argentinian league titles with Boca in 2016/17 and 2017/18. Not a bad start to life in the big chair on the bench.
Qualified and motivated, GBS could be a great hire for any club. But, how does each current opportunity fit the manager?
Columbus Crew SC
Barros Schelotto won 2008 MLS Cup with Crew SC, picking up Landon Donovan MLS MVP and MLS Cup MVP that season. He won two Supporters' Shields and was twice a member of MLS Best XI. He had 33 goals and 41 assists in 102 appearances across four hugely successful seasons.
That was a long-winded way of conveying the following: Barros Schelotto is a club legend in Columbus. It would be a poetic transition for the beloved star-turned-manager to return to the club as they head into a new era, just after the city and supporters fought hard to keep the Crew in Columbus.
One little problem, of course: The Athletic's Paul Tenorio reported a few days ago that the Crew are in the "final stages" of hiring Caleb Porter after he turned down an offer from the Galaxy, so the romantic Crew homecoming looks the least likely of the trio.
Since winning 2014 MLS Cup, the Galaxy have won exactly one playoff series, a Knockout Round triumph in 2016. They haven't made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and 2017 was the first time they missed the playoffs since 2008. Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane are long gone, as is Bruce Arena. The Galaxy have work to do.
That work has started. They have a new general manager, Dennis te Kloese, and the club have begun renovating a leaky defense that conceded 64 goals last season by declining contract options on Ashley Cole and Michael Ciani. The job comes with its warts, for sure, but is viewed as one of the glamor franchises in the league. They have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romain Alessandrini, Ola Kamara amid an oversaturation of attacking talent, a group that helped lead the team to 66 goals last season, giving them a fighting chance for the playoffs.
Barros Schelotto is no stranger to the task. Under immense pressure and expectations at Boca, GBS navigated the club to success. Just as will be the case with Ibrahimovic in 2019, the manager handled aging superstar Carlos Tevez in 2015-16 and 2018.
While he's been linked to the prior two clubs, Barros Schelotto to Atlanta United has garnered the most speculation and smoke.
By surface value, it almost makes too much sense. Atlanta's squad has a deep South American, heavily Argentinean, influence. What more seamless of a transition from Tata Martino to Barros Schelotto, who understands MLS, has played attacking soccer with deep connections, and a name that carries weight, in South America? His preferred formation is an attacking 4-3-3, something that Tata used often as well. He even brought Miguel Almiron to Lanus in 2015.
But, it may not be the most perfect of a fit as we expect. ESPN's Taylor Twellman says GBS is "not a tactician". The Athletic's Felipe Cardenas has drizzled some cold water on that subject as well, saying Barros Schelotto "relied on individual brilliance."