We’re a few days away from beginning the off season for nine Major League Soccer clubs, many of which will have coaching changes to take place this winter. A few more could join the fray after their post-season runs end in November.
In other words, the coaching carousel this winter will be one wild and crazy ride.
I honestly don’t know where to even begin with it. So I’ll start off going team-by-team of those who are in question. First of which, the teams we know that are eliminated from playoff contention.
D.C. United – Ben Olsen
We know it has been a long and tough year for the Black-and-Red faithful. Yes, they got the US Open Cup trophy as a consolation prize to winning three games this season but will they part with Olsen as their manager? The Washington Post’s Steven Goff recently reported that Olsen would keep his job at RFK Stadium, although it’s still fair to wonder how fans there really feel about such a thing?
Likely outcome: I would imagine Olsen will get another year, or at least six months to prove that 2013 was more of a fluke than anything else.
Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen
It seems unfair to fire the guy, even though I don’t agree with the idea that he is a MLS-calibar coach just yet. With Kevin Payne out of the picture we could see yet another manager change at BMO Field this winter. The next few weeks will be really telling up there as to what happens.
Likely outcome: Don’t sleep on former San Jose Earthquakes boss Frank Yallop being rumored for this position. But Yallop is also rumored at another club as well.
Chivas USA – Jose Luis Real
This group is always a wildcard when it comes to coaching. They’ll make a change….at some point. It is just always a matter of when not if.
Likely outcome: Real stays on and gets a chance to go through the offseason with this group.
Vancouver Whitecaps – Martin Rennie
Let’s face it, Rennie was always a bit over his head in Vancouver. Last year he had a strong start that lead to a midseason collapse due to some really poor roster moves. This year was a bit better out of the Whitecaps but unlike in 2012, they did not reach the post season in 2013. I would imagine given the lofty goals of this club, Rennie will be let go at some point this winter.
Likely outcome: I still see Yallop going here this winter. The battle for him between Toronto and Vancouver will be entertaining to watch though.
FC Dallas – Schellas Hyndman
The one thing we do know is that Hyndman is done after this weekend. He resigned last weekend and will no longer be in charge. Where Dallas goes from here is anyone’s guess at the moment. I’ll be discussing this move more over at BigDSoccer.com with the gang there. The Hunts Sports Group are already looking at candidates that could range from current Technical Director Fernando Clavijo, current assistant manager Marco Ferruzzi to names like Tab Ramos or current Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) manager Bryan Hayes.
Likely outcome: My gut tells me it will either be Ferruzzi or Clavijo in charge in Frisco next season. Though many Dallas fans will tell you that they want full change from the last few years, if ownership listens to their wishes, we could see someone like Ramos.
Columbus Crew – Brian Bliss
Bliss is one of the two interim managers in charge of a team at this point. He’s made it pretty clear that he wants to remain in charge of this club into next year. New ownership is sure to look for a big hire, as this is Anthony Precourt’s first big opportunity to make an aggressive move, to show where he wants to take the club.
Likely outcome: My gut tells me Guillermo Barros Schelotto will be brought back as a manager of this club. He’s already interviewed for it too.
San Jose Earthquakes – Mark Watson
Has Watson done enough to convince the ownership there to hire him full time? The side was 10-5-3 under Watson and will be in the knockout phase of the CCL next spring too. With the core group finally getting healthy for that CCL run next year, a big change for them would be very interesting.
Likely outcome: Watson stays on. It really is the only logical pick for this club, especially if they want to have a deep run in the CCL.
Chicago Fire – Frank Klopas
The Fire look like they will be a playoff team but does that mean they’ll hold on to Klopas? I’m not convinced that making the playoffs will really save his job…well both of his jobs, he’s also the technical director there too. The Fire have been so hot and cold this season too. Injuries played a part of that early on but with the talent that they have on the field, this group never struck me as one that was a big contender.
Likely outcome: They’ll hire Jesse Marsch. It only makes sense.
Philadelphia Union – John Hackworth
This is another one of this situations where you think someone could be better there but you just don’t know who. This club is so young and has the talent to be really good in this league but I do wonder if Hackworth is the guy that should really be in charge of it all. I’m sure most Philly fans would be fine with a change this winter. The playoffs are still a possibility this weekend and maybe a deep run in them would keep him on longer.
Likely outcome: Honestly, I see a change coming here in Philly. Who will take over is the real question.
Seattle Sounders – Sigi Schmid
The ownership isn’t happy but they’ve also said it isn’t all on Schmid too. I think advancing to the conference finals is a must for him but also ending this current losing streak is big as well. Obviously, a MLS Cup would solve it all there.
Likely outcome: I think Schmid stays on even after a quick exit in the playoffs. Injuries were a big deal this year and given the amount of talent on this team, they’ll get it done in 2014. If they don’t then, yeah, he’s gone.
Real Salt Lake – Jason Kreis
This is really the big domino that could make this entire process crazy. SI.com reported that he’s already had talks with NYCFC but that team won’t be joining the fray until 2015. So would he really take a year off from coaching to take that job? Hard to tell. Its not like he won’t be welcomed back in Salt Lake if the club doesn’t win it all this year either. Then there is the lingering thought of him returning to Dallas to coach there. Seems unlikely but it is out there.
Likely outcome: Kries ends up in New York and Salt Lake promotes an assistant or goes after former assistant Robin Fraser.