A look at the three vacant MLS head coaching jobs (and the best candidates to fill them)

A look at the three vacant MLS head coaching jobs (and the best candidates to fill them)


A look at the three vacant MLS head coaching jobs (and the best candidates to fill them)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com


The 2013 MLS Draft is just five weeks a way, and the MLS Combine just a month away, but three teams currently sit without permanent head coaches in place as we draw closer to the new year.

The New York Red Bulls, Chivas USA and Montreal Impact have all parted ways with their 2012 head coaches in recent weeks, but none of the three appears close to announcing a permanent replacement.

There have been plenty of rumblings about potential candidates, but as of Wednesday morning, none of the three jobs have been formally filled. That should chance in the next few weeks as teams prepare for the MLS Draft and January transfer window.

Here is a closer look at the three jobs, including the coaches linked to those jobs, and the coaches we think should be hired for those jobs.


The Latest– As SBI first reported back in October, the power brokers at the Red Bulls were lining up Gary McAllister to take over for Hans Backe as head coach, but now sources tell SBI that there is currently some in-fighting going on about that potential selection. It is a struggle that has left the team dragging their feet on an appointment even as the team makes major trades.

Who should be hired– It would probably never happen, but there isn’t a more deserving candidate than former Red Bulls assistant coach and current U.S. Under-17 national team head coach Richie Williams. He has coaching experience, local ties and is beloved by the fan base. So why won’t it happen. He was fired by then Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler in an ugly power move that led to a messy divorce between the sides. Even though Soler has now been dumped alongside former head coach Hans Backe, it seems unlikely Red Bull would bring Williams back.

Who is likely to be hired– McCallister still feels like the most likely candidate, and as Gerard Houllier’s preferred pick, he remains a good bet. Former New England Revolution head coach Stevie Nicol has ties to technical director Andy Roxburgh, and has considerable experience in MLS, so he should be seen as a darkhorse pick.


The Latest– The Impact parted ways with head coach Jesse Marsch last month and handed an interim position to Mauro Biello, a coach some feel could wind up keeping the position. There have been reports of Montreal being interested in former Impact defender and current Napoli assistant Enzo Concina, though Impact owner Joey Saputo seemed to shoot down the Concina rumor with this Tweet:

I can’t help but laugh when so called experts talk about our next coach. All I can say is that you guys are way off! You know who you are.

Who should be hired– If we’re talking about from a pure MLS experience standpoint, current Impact assistant coach Denis Hamlett would be a good pick. He enjoyed two strong seasons as Chicago Fire head coach and has a year with the Impact under his belt.

Who is likely to be hired–  Concina seems to check all the boxes that Montreal are believed to want filled. He has Canadian roots, Italian roots and Serie A ties, and a good coaching pedigree. If it isn’t him, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that Biello keeps the job heading into the 2013 season.


The Latest– Robin Fraser was a lame-duck well before the 2012 season ended, so when he was let go it came as no surprise. What was a bit of a surprise is that former Pachuca boss Efrain Flores was reportedly going to take over for Fraser. That move hasn’t happened. Owner Jorge Vergara stated that Johan Cruyff would help select the new Goats head coach, but now Cruyff has been fired from his advisor role with Chivas USA. Yep, you guessed it. There is no telling which direction the team goes in now.

Who should be hired– Given his success in year one with the Montreal Impact, and his ties to Chivas USA as a captain on the team when the squad was actually a good team, Jesse Marsch is the perfect candidate to step in. Unfortunately for him, Marsch doesn’t seem like the coach Vergara would turn to in order to help implement a more Mexican influence on the team.

Who is likely to be hired– It is anyone’s guess right now just what the volatile Vergara is thinking right now, but what we do know is that he has met with former U.S. national team coach Steve Sampson, a fluent Spanish speaker who told SBI last weekend that he definitely wants the job. It is a safe bet that Vergara will either hand the job to a Mexican coach, or give Sampson a chance to take charge.


What do you think of the coaching situations of these three clubs? Who would you like to see hired to take these positions? What do you think of our suggestions?

Share your thoughts below.

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