It took only three weeks for our first midseason firing of MLS when Real Salt Lake ousted Jeff Cassar. That was a shocking firing if only because of how early it happened in the season. But now we are two months into the action and it’s not hard to imagine another ouster following suit.
Here is our ranking of which MLS coaches are in the hottest seats and who will be sacked next:
All things considered, the New England Revolution could be doing worse in the standings as they sit two spots out of playoff position at the moment. But for a team that has so much attacking talent with the likes of Kei Kamara, Lee Nguyen and Juan Agudelo, they should be in more control and finding their way to more results, especially considering they were blessed with an early home match vs. Minnesota when the Loons still looked like a disaster.
The Revs have often looked like the sum was less than the parts of the field under Heaps, which falls on the coach, and early returns this season suggest that trend is continuing. But for the Revs to make a midseason coaching change would require a level of urgency from the front office that we just haven’t seen out of New England.
Casey SapioCasey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Since Olsen arrived in D.C. in 2010, United have mostly been a middling team. He’s won exactly one trophy for the club, a 2013 U.S. Open Cup, and the Black-and-Red have never made a deep run to the playoffs. Now, two months into the 2017 season, D.C. United’s attack looks anemic and has managed the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference, tied for fewest in the league.
Olsen could have been fired back in 2013 after missing the playoffs in three of four seasons. But now, with the opening of a brand new stadium slated for next year, there could be more pressure and expectations could be higher for Olsen to make D.C. a winning team.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsGeoff Burke
It was a bit of a surprise that Mastroeni returned to the Colorado Rapids last season at all. Under his leadership in 2014 and 2015, the Rapids finished toward the bottom of the league, well out of playoff position. But he shocked everyone by leading the Rapids to second in the Western Conference last year. If it seemed flukey and unsustainable, the 2017 season has only proven it. The Rapids aren’t grinding out 1-0 wins anymore and their luck has run out as they sit bottom in the Western Conference.
Results matter, of course, but the Rapids played a bit of a tedious, low-scoring — some might say boring — brand of soccer last year and that defensive style hasn’t gotten them the same results this year. Now Mastroeni seems to be looking for a way to turn the Rapids into more of an attacking team, but the question is whether he is the right coach to lead that transition. It’s been bit bumpy so far, but they still need to make some moves in the summer transfer window. Assuming Mastroeni gets to that window simply because the Rapids have seemed reluctant to change coaches, the clock will really start ticking once more attacking pieces arrive.
Verdict: On a backburner, for now
Stew Milne-USA TODAY SportsStew Milne
Minnesota United started the season as something of a laughingstock because of the astonishing rate the Loons were conceding goals. There are the excuses in Heath’s favor: The Loons are an expansion team and expansion teams always struggle; Minnesota didn’t have much time to build their MLS squad in time for the 2017 season; the Minnesota front office was clearly looking to build a squad on a budget.
But the scouting and roster-building that Heath assisted on has failed Minnesota defensively, and badly too. Heath has also been slow to make much-needed adjustments and it’s forced Minnesota to fall behind when maybe they didn’t need to. Even if some improvements are coming a little late, they are coming at least, and for a first-year expansion team, the front office will probably allow the season to play out. But if the record-setting awfulness comes back, the front office may have no choice but to show their fans they are addressing the problem.
Verdict: On a backburner, for now
Brace HemmelgarnBrace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport
The San Jose Earthquakes haven’t won since their first two games of the season, and both those wins came from unsustainable circumstances: Anibal Godoy scored wonder goals in back-to-back matches. The goals were special, but not the sort of thing a team can count on to win, and not anything coach Dominic Kinnear can take credit for. Indeed since Godoy stopped scoring, the Quakes haven’t won and now they sit barely clinging onto playoff position.
While Kinnear has a positive reputation from his back-to-back MLS Cups wins with the Houston Dynamo, the biggest factor looming over his head right now is that there’s a new general manager above him who did not hire him. Kinnear was John Doyle’s hire, but Doyle is gone and Jesse Fioranelli joined the Quakes as GM earlier this year. If Kinnear doesn’t start improving the Quakes’ record, it probably won’t be difficult for San Jose’s front office to make a change.
Verdict: On a backburner, for now
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsChris Humphreys
The only team in MLS with zero wins right now is the Phildelphia Union. This was supposed to be a bounce-back year. Last season, the team was in transition with Earnie Stewart taking the helm as sporting director and helping guide a roster rebuild, and 2017 was supposed to build upon that. Instead, the Union have been terrible and every time the team has come close to a win, they have fallen apart.
The perfect example of where Curtin's management has fallen short comes from Alejandro Bedoya: Wasting time with Bedoya — the Union’s most-expensive and arguably best player — in a non-preferred No. 10 role was poor management. Curtin would’ve been better off seeing that it wasn’t working and reconfiguring the Union’s setup instead of forcing a square in a round peg. What’s worse, even with Bedoya dropped back to a box-to-box role lately, the Union’s setup still is allowing them to get beat in the midfield too easily. Curtin has just often been too slow to make necessary changes, something that has been a criticism of the coach in the past.
Add to these tactical concerns the low morale in Philly, and we could see Curtin out sooner rather than later. The Union managed to lose a 3-0 lead last weekend to Montreal and the team seems to lack both focus and fight. The coach has to answer for that if things don't improve soon.
Everyone knew 2017 was going to be a different kind of season for the LA Galaxy. They had fewer superstars and more homegrown prospects than ever before. Bruce Arena, the man who helped define the team, left to coach the national team and Onalfo came up from the Galaxy reserves. The new approach was about cultivating more talent in-house, and the transition wasn’t supposed to be easy.
But no one expected the Galaxy to be struggling this badly. The Galaxy have been outplayed and, at times, Onalfo has been slow to make adjustments or unable to address what’s happening. The question is, can they really fire Onalfo this early into his first year? The Galaxy knew transitioning away from Arena and their high-priced roster strategy would be tough. Can they abandon their road map this quickly?
The Galaxy are an ambitious club and if demoralizing results like the 3-0 loss to Seattle last weekend are repeated, it won’t sit well with the front office. The Galaxy are off to a historically bad start that is nowhere near the club's high expectations.