Doug Roberson

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

MLS Atlanta President Darren Eales discusses the coaching staff, the technical director and the timeline for hiring each in this week’s AJC Soccer Insider.

The team, owned by Arthur Blank, will begin play in 2017 in the new stadium downtown.

There is no path to follow when hiring managers, which will make Eales’ decision that much more interesting. MLS franchises have gone much different routes with their coaching hires. All four conference finalists in the MLS playoffs featured American coaches who have had differing degrees of success.

Darren Eales is president of MLS Atlanta. (Photo courtesy of MLS Atlanta)

Looking at the two expansion franchises whose decisions may influence Eales because of the similarity of the situations: New York FC, which is coming online in 2015, named American Jason Kreis its manager after his standout career managing Real Salt Lake. Orlando SC, which will also begin play in 2015, hired Adrian Heath as its manager. Heath, a native of England who played in the first division there, led Orlando as a USL Pro franchise.

Q: Do you have a timeline for hiring a coach?

A: Nothing is set in stone, but I would have thought around 2016. We won’t have the players at the earliest from June 2016 onwards.

A: Nothing is set in stone, but I would have thought around 2016. We won’t have the players at the earliest from June 2016 onwards.

Doesn’t mean if the right opportunity came up we wouldn’t do something differently. In the next couple of months we will put together the timeline.

The technical director/general manager will be hired earlier.

Q: What is on your checklist for a coach?

A: It goes back to overall strategy. In MLS in particular, because of salary cap, the focus is on their coaching ability.

If you take someone perhaps in England or a different market, you might be looking for someone with more overall because there are other things to deal with.

But in MLS, with the salary cap, you will have the players you have. You have to have someone who understands it’s his job to develop those players. He can’t moan if the right back isn’t good enough because you have the squad you have. That mentality of understanding that they are coaches and player developers is important.

I don’t think I have any preconceived ideas (about the hire). It will be all on its merits.

I’m confident it will be an attractive position. I’ve been blown away by the level of interest I’ve had from players and coaches.

Q: Without sharing names, are there some that are familiar to the American soccer fan?

A: Yes, absolutely yes.

Shoes are starting to drop: In the wake of FIFA’s handling of the report into alleged corruption in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the organization will lose another one of its major sponsors.

Sony is ending its eight-year, $280 million deal with FIFA, according to several reports. Sony was one of FIFA’s “official partners.” It joins Emirates Airlines as the second high-profile sponsor to decide not to renew its agreement.

Additionally, German Football League President Reinhard Rauball has called for Blatter’s resignation.

MLS Cup: New England will face Los Angeles in the MLS Cup after each advanced through the home-and-home conference final series.

The championship game will be Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy will attempt to become the first club to win five MLS Cups.

The game between the Galaxy and the Sounders started slowly with L.A. owning possession until Seattle created something from nothing and took a 1-0 lead on a shot that Brad Evans jumped on in front of an empty net. They made it 2-0 a few minutes later when Dempsey’s shot was spilled by Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo turned into his own net. The goal gave the Sounders a 2-1 aggregate lead in the series.

Los Angeles clinched its spot in the final in the 57th minute when Juninho slammed a goal in the 54th minute. The goal tied the series at 2-2, but the Galaxy advanced because their goal came on the road.

New England advanced after a 2-2 draw with New York. Charlie Davies scored both goals for the Revs on Saturday. This will be New England’s fifth appearance in the MLS Cup. It also may have been the last game in MLS for Red Bulls standout Thierry Henry.

The MLS Cup will be a fascinating matchup because both teams feature creative midfields and steady defenders. The first mistake will likely decide the game.