Over and over again, I have pointed out the necessity in giving a rookie head coach the benefit of the doubt. It means that, as far as rookie head coaches usually suffer growing pains, compounding it with a franchise in transition as Chivas USA are, the bumps are considerably bumpier.
That said, the question about Wilmer Cabrera deserving a second chance in 2015 is a hot topic in some quarters. A growing chorus of fans have been asking for a veteran, more experienced head coach leading Chivas USA, or whatever the team's name will be after the re-brand, next season. Add to that the carnage in Toronto this weekend, with rookie head coach Ryan Nelsen getting fired in favor of former Chivas USA assistant coach Greg Vanney, and the Philadelphia Union looking for a permanent replacement for John Hackworth, and there are sure to be several teams looking for new coaches.
The question is: there is a suitable replacement for Cabrera out there, if he didn't continue past this season? Are there viable candidates? The question isn't a rhetorical one. Should or would a MLS-veteran head coach take the job? You know, CUSA are waiting for a re-branding.
It means that future is loaded with any sort of ‘who knows' doubts. Who will step up in running the franchise? Will the next owner able to fill the roster's voids? What DP player will CUSA bring on, should they do it, now that a DP slot is available, after the much discussed Nigel Reo-Coker-Mauro Rosales trade? With the regular season not over yet, despite their disappointing spanking at the hands of the LA Galaxy on Sunday, these are hard questions to solve and Chivas USA's fans can expect more of the same going for the rest of the season. By the way, the discussion about the potential, experienced, next head coach is worthy. So, here's a list of potential, MLS-seasoned replacement for Cabrera:
Jesse Marsch: The name that is always brought up when a coaching vacancy emerges, but who hasn't gotten a second chance since his firing after just one season in charge of the tumultuous Montreal Impact in 2012. That he knows MLS, American soccer (he was an assistant coach on the U.S. Men's National Team under Bob Bradley) is a huge perk, but what's even better is of course his history with Chivas USA, as he was at the heart of the successful years for the team from 2006-09. It seems like a logical fit, but one would expect he will get another chance somewhere soon.
Curt Onalfo: sacked by D.C. United in 2010, Onalfo re-invented himself assistant coach for the LA Galaxy, where he reunited with head coach Bruce Arena, with whom he worked in the USMNT. Currently, he coaches the Galaxy's USL PRO team, LA Galaxy II. Even if the appointment would seem a bit risky, due to bad records he posted on his former experiences as manager with Kansas City and DCU, this is a gamble the new ownership could take, not to mention one they nearly took, as he was reportedly in line for the job this year before pulling out and Chivas hired Cabrera. Onalfo is a bright and an attacking-minded coach and the new CUSA could provide him a solid base to re-start his managing career.
Schellas Hyndman: It seems like he's probably retired, but if an MLS team wants experience, Hyndman has it in spades. A fierce character, Hyndman has been out of the game since his departure from FC Dallas in 2013. It means nothing as Hyndman is renowned as one of the brightest coaching mind in MLS circles. His six-seasons tenure in Dallas shows it. You can find some excerpts of Hyndman's coaching philosophy here.
Marco Schällibaum: Another member of the former-Impact coaches club, as he was unexplainably sacked by Montreal at the end of last campaign, Schällibaum is a young, brilliant offensive mind. The fact is he wasn't the problem at Montreal was repeatedly confirmed: things went south in Montreal since his departure. Schällibaum is a tinkerer as he loved to change team's formations during his stint at Montreal: he ran different 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 shapes. Constant re-shape of the starting XI is also a must for the Swiss manager. Getting the team to the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time, he proved himself at the top level and Chivas USA's fans would be happy should they hear his name linked to the club. Another big temperament: he amassed four suspensions during his season with the Impact.
Paul Mariner: the Englishman is the least experienced manager in the bunch as he landed just few months at the helm of Toronto FC as caretaker manager, following the disastrous Aron Winter experiment in 2012 term. By the way, TFC produced a bit under his tutelage. Although his MLS experience was short, he looked ready to take the job on a permanent basis since Day 1. Mariner is a believer that the players must dictate the tactics, not vice versa, and his tactics already appear to suited to MLS as he displayed a classic, British, compact 4-4-2 at Toronto.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!