They may be dreaming of trophy hoists and assorted other MLS Cup glories in Seattle and Toronto, though for most of Major League Soccer, the offseason is well underway, and that includes personnel decisions on both rosters and coaching staffs.
One of the league’s four head coaching vacancies has been filled, yet there’s still plenty of mystery about who’ll be selected for the others. And there’s the not-insubstantial question of what will transpire in New York City…
Here’s a quick rundown of where things stand.
La Naranja have made their choice, and it’s Tab Ramos, as the Dynamo lured the longtime US U-20 national team boss away from the U.S. Soccer Federation to take over their top job. It’s the first senior club job for the USMNT icon, and he’s provided a few insights so far as to how he plans to go about things.
L’Impact have made one big decision thus far, electing to part company with 2019 midseason hire Wilmer Cabrera on Oct. 24 after just a few short months in charge; the Cabrera era in Quebec will be remembered for an unexpected Canadian Championship final victory and not much else.
At the time club officials said the search for a new head coach was underway; that’s one of many tasks facing recently-hired sporting director Olivier Renard, who has a range of roster issues to deal with from Ignacio Piatti to Samuel Piette. Montreal have traditionally taken a global view of their technical recruitment; no credible reports have yet arisen regarding potential candidates.
New York City FC
Technically speaking, Dome Torrent (pictured at top) remains the Cityzens’ head coach, and a good one, too, presiding over the Eastern Conference’s top regular-season finisher. The Spaniard raised eyebrows when he cast doubt on his own future in Gotham after NYCFC’s latest postseason disappointment, however, cryptically stating that “They are ready for another coach” and that “I need to talk about it in Manchester because this season was a tough, tough season for us” after the upset loss to Toronto FC at Citi Field.
It seems Torrent was frustrated with the slow pace of recruitment that brought Heber to New York, and the club’s generally restrained spending compared to the MLS elite. His further remarks to a Spanish-based podcast and ProSoccerUSA’s reporting that his top assistant, Albert Puig, has already elected to pursue other opportunities elsewhere, seem to further raise the likelihood of a coaching change for NYCFC. We’ll be monitoring both the Bronx and Manchester for updates.
Orlando City SC
The Lions are coach-less since the dismissal of James O’Connor one day after their season finale, and the rumor mill has pumped out a few connections, some more credible than others. There was little meat behind chatter about Portuguese Liga MX veteran Caixinha; perhaps a bit more so to talk of Spaniard Santiago Solari, but it still didn’t come to pass.
Most recently, Club Tijuana boss Oscar Pareja was linked to Orlando, logical given his fruitful time working together with Lions EVP of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi at FC Dallas. Pareja and Xolos are in the midst of the Mexican Apertura dogfight; perhaps more will become clear when that competition winds down at year’s end.
Real Salt Lake
The Utahns went back to the future for one option to fill their vacant general manager and head coaching positions, reportedly interviewing former boss Jason Kreis, who led RSL during their salad days at the turn of the decade and now splits his time between Inter Miami and the US U-23 national team. That’s the latest news, but almost surely not the last.
Current interim coach Freddy Juarez is a longtime club servant who gave a good account of himself in relief of Mike Petke this season, leading Salt Lake to a 7-4-2 record and a third-place finish in the Western Conference standings. That earned them a home playoff game in Round One of the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, which they won in dramatic fashion, in tempestuous weather conditions, 2-1 over the Portland Timbers, before a Conference Semifinal loss at Seattle.