Atlanta United has fired their coach, Frank de Boer, after a disappointing performance in the MLS is Back tournament. The team looked different from its usual dominant self, and the players struggled to find the back of the net after a promising 2-0 start to the 2020 MLS season. There had been reports of tension and rift between de Boer and the athletes. With the team slowly trying to get their mojo back, many questions surround our 2018 MLS Cup Champions. One of them is: Who will be the new head coach?
Below is a list of candidates. This is an initial list, depending on availability or the potential to snag a coach from another team.
Former player, Gabriel Heinze is no doubt an up-and-coming manager on the market. With stints as a player with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid, the Argentine has made a name for himself. He was able to achieve a promotion campaign for Argentinos Juniors successfully. Moving on to another club in Argentina (Velez Sarsfield), he showed his capability of leading a team to a winning record. While young for a manager, Heinze shows a lot of potentials, especially to a top MLS squad. It will be interesting to see if he would take an offer, or if the front office would agree, considering his team’s lack of goal-scoring conversions – something ATL United really needs at this point.
A very controversial coach, but a firm one nevertheless. Pekerman is a man of initiative who chooses to rely on tactical decisions rather than individuals’ talents. He can be the next coach for the job. With accolades such as coaching the Argentine and Colombian national teams, having a South American coach won’t be a huge adjustment for Atlanta, considering the many coaches and players from South America. Although he hasn’t coached since 2018, he still would be a great choice.
STRETCHES AND LONGSHOTS
The next options are stretches. Atlanta United needs to evaluate these coaches’ styles because it may bring new thoughts and ideas that could transform the club.
Despite this being nearly impossible, Pochettino is one of the best, if not the best coaching candidate on the market. Recently released by Tottenham Hotspur, he led the team to a UEFA Champions League Final spot last year. He is perfect for the job with Atlanta United, should a miracle happen and he would come to North America. His high-performance, aggressive attacking style, and tendency to trust younger talent would be a great asset.
After leaving Chelsea FC to return to his home country of Italy to coach Juventus, Maurizio Sarri, like Pochettino, is also a longshot. But things are possible, considering his willingness to settle down after an illustrious coaching career. There are some red flags, like his eccentric and colorful personality, but one cannot argue that his pros outweigh his cons. His wins, confidence, and his extensive experience says it all. His coaching style would complement the Atlanta squad very well since they are known for their attacking style.
These are just some of the names that Atlanta United should consider. While it’s essential to have the head of the team make the decisions, other changes within the club should also be a priority.