Los Angeles FC rolled to a Supporters’ Shield title and the top spot in MLS’ Western Conference heading into the playoffs.
Bob Bradley has gotten the best out of his team in every way possible for them to be a true threat for MLS Cup this season. After a 57-point haul in 2018, LAFC grabbed 15 points more this season to break the league’s regular season record for points.
Bradley’s outstanding job with LAFC has earned him the SBI MLS Coach of the Year award for 2019. The club not only recorded 72 points, but lost only four times in the regular season, while also posting a +48 goal differential, 27 goals better than second-place NYCFC. The club achieved new heights in 2019 and still have a possible first MLS Cup to obtain come November.
Here is a rundown of the other finalists for the SBI MLS Coach of the Year Award, as chosen by the SBI Editorial Staff:
2. Adrian Heath
One of the biggest surprises in 2019 was Minnesota United after finishing 10th in the West last season. Adrian Heath saw his side clinch its first-ever playoff berth this season, finishing 17 points better off than a year ago.
Led by a 10-1-6 home record, the Loons played some energetic soccer under Heath as they saw several players step up this regular season. Ike Opara came in and bolstered the backline, rookie Hassani Dotson was a major bright spot, Romain Metanire was one of the top newcomers in the league, and Darwin Quintero and Mason Toye combined for a strong offensive attack.
Heath deserves plenty of credit for the job he did with the Loons, after many projected him to be fired after last season.
3. Domenec Torrent
The second-best team in MLS was NYCFC and Domenec Torrent deserves plenty of credit for that.
The Eastern Conference winners earned 64 points this season, with 11 of those 18 wins coming at Yankee Stadium. Torrent has NYCFC playing attacking football and having numerous players to call on when needed. Not only did NYCFC find the back of the net, but they were able to ride a lengthy unbeaten run to the top spot in the East over the likes of Atlanta United and the Philadelphia Union.
Torrent’s job with NYCFC is far from over with his side having a bye to open the playoffs.
4. Jim Curtin
Jim Curtin continued to lead the Philadelphia Union in the right direction in 2019.
After 50 points a season ago, the Union took the next step as they finished third in the Eastern Conference and five points better off in the standings. Led by a 10-3-4 home record, the Union backed down to nobody this season as they took the scalps of sides like Atlanta United, Minnesota United, and the New York Red Bulls.
Curtin called on the likes of several young players and new faces in 2019 and got the best out of them. Kacper Przybylko, Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson, and Kai Wagner were just a handful of positive performers for the Union this season and Curtin will now look to lead the Union to a deep run in the playoffs.
5. Luchi Gonzalez
Anytime a team makes a coaching chance it’s always tough to find success early.
FC Dallas saw Luchi Gonzalez come in and take the team to the playoffs in his first season as head coach. 48 points was good enough to clinch the final playoff spot in the West and put a young and in-form Dallas side into the postseason.
Gonzalez gave several young players the chance to shine in 2019 including Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania, Edwin Cerrillo, and Jesus Ferreira. The trust from Gonzalez paid off big time for Dallas who should be improving in the West going forward.