Colorado Rapids v Chicago Fire

Updated list of MLS coaching dismissals (plus the ongoing dismissal “watch list”)


If we lined up every MLS manager, and then asked each one to step forward who remains on the payroll at his current position, surely by this afternoon one of them would be halted, then greeted with …

“Uh, not so fast there, Coach So-and-So!”

We warned you that this would be an MLS off-season of coaching upheaval like no other – and so it has begun. Here is where things stands so far:


FC Dallas – Schellas Hydmnan: Out on Oct. 18

His dismissal (and make no mistake, the man didn’t choose to quit on his own) was announced with two matches remaining. Boiling it down: He never got the personnel right in 2013, and remained loyal to a diminished David Ferreira for way too long.

Vancouver Whitecaps – Martin Rennie: Out on Oct. 28

His record in two years fell just below .500, and failing to make the playoffs this year (missed it by two spots in the MLS West standings, in fact) was the final nail. Boiling it down: His personnel choices were all over the place.

Chicago Fire – Frank Klopas: Out on Oct. 29

It was a bit of a house cleaning at Toyota Park; Klopas (pictured above) is out along with president of soccer operations Javier Leon were jettisoned, and more front office axes may soon fall. The club could have kicked Klopas back upstairs to his former role as technical director, his position until moving to the bench in 2011. Boiling it down: Similar to Dallas, too many questionable personnel moves.

(MORE: Top Five American coaching candidates to fill MLS spots)

MLS managers in some kind of GREY AREA

Columbus Crew – Brian Bliss: The interim manager apparently will not be retained. The team has not officially said so, but it seems clear from their impressive wish list of candidates that they want something different. Something splashier, too.

Mark Watson – San Jose Earthquakes: His team’s big push for the post-season will probably be sufficient convince Earthquakes’ leaders to give their interim man a chance in 2014. Word of warning, though: they must quality for next year’s playoffs, or the organization will definitely want a name hire ahead of the new stadium opening in 2015.

MLS managerial employment WATCH LIST

Seattle Sounders – Sigi Schmid: Seems like advancing past tonight’s elimination match is an absolute must. Perhaps even getting into the conference finals will be needed for a club with such big ambition.

(MORE: Previewing the Sounders-Rapids playoff contest)

D.C. United – Ben Olsen: Club leaders have indicated that Olsen will hold onto his job. That’s a tough sell to fans, seeing as the club just became, statistically speaking, the worst team in MLS history. Still, it would be nice to see what Olsen could do with a better roster. Tough to say how much of the awful personnel choices around RFK are his fault.

Philadelphia – John Hackworth: On the plus side, his team has lots of young talent, some of which just wasn’t quite ready this year. On the minus side, that long, slow, late-season fade was tough on the eyes. So is the style around PPL Park.

Toronto FC – Ryan Nelsen: It doesn’t seem fair to the first-year head coach to bring him over, have him manage through high-level organizational changeover and then let him go. But who knows? A record of 6-17-11 and ninth-place finish out of 10 is never going to provide the most stable of footing.

Chivas USA – Jose Luis Real: Seriously, who knows what the Goats erratic ownership will come up with next, strategy-wise?

VIDEO: Premier League Player of the Week – Matchday 9

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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.

Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.

[ MORE: MLS Cup predictions ]

The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.

The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.

Finnish fans celebrate surprise title for IFK Mariehamn

IFK Mariehamm
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HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.

“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.

Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.

[ MORE: Full MLS Cup bracket ]

Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.

Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.

Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast

Kroenke: “Very high” on Wenger who is “very hard” to replace

Jeff Fisher
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LONDON — Arsenal remains “very high” on Arsene Wenger and it will be “very hard” replacing the manager who is in the final year of his contract, owner Stan Kroenke told The Associated Press on Monday.

Wenger this month celebrated 20 years in charge of Arsenal and has offered no indication whether he wants to sign a new deal into next season.

The 67-year-old Frenchman became the Premier League’s longest serving manager when Alex Ferguson retired from Manchester United in 2013. United is now on its third manager in three years and has not competed for the Premier League title since Ferguson’s departure.

In a rare interview about Arsenal, Kroenke noted the tricky post-Ferguson succession at United while discussing the challenge of eventually replacing Wenger.

“You see it (at United), you bring up a comment like that,” Kroenke told the AP after Arsenal’s annual general meeting. “It’s very hard. He’s a great manager.”

Wenger signed his last three-year contract extension in 2014.

“We will sit down and discuss the future at the appropriate time,” Arsenal chairman Chips Keswick told shareholders at a meeting where Wenger didn’t address his contract situation in his speech.

Although Wenger has won the Premier League three times, the last success came in 2004 – a drought which frustrates fans.

“He’s been a wonderful influence on the club,” Kroenke said. “We are all very high on Arsene. We are (joint) top of the table right now.”

Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are only separated on goal difference at the summit. Despite Wenger only winning the FA Cup twice since 2004, the team is in the lucrative Champions League for the 19th successive year thanks to its runner-up finish last season. Wenger is yet to win European football’s top prize.

“I know a number of (sports team) owners that are very successful that say the same thing – the hardest thing to do is be consistently competitive at the top of the league,” said Kroenke, who also owns the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. “Arsene has always done that and Arsenal has always been in that position. We have always been competitive.

“We may not always win the things we want to win. We are very focused on winning for sure the league. Arsene’s been consistently at the top and I will tell you – it’s very, very hard to do if you look around sports.”


2016 MLS Cup playoffs bracket in full

TORONTO, ON - MAY 07:  Michael Bradley #4 and Jozy Altidore #17 of Toronto FC celebrate a goal by teammate Tsubasa Endoh #9 during the first half of an MLS soccer game against FC Dallas at BMO Field on May 7, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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With Major League Soccer’s Decision Day 2016 in the books, we now know who will battle it out for MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Who will win MLS Cup? ]

Up first on Wednesday and Thursday are the four knockout round games, then the Conference semifinal first legs kick off this weekend.

We get into it thick and fast.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage

The PST crew already selected their picks for the postseason and filled out their bracket. You can see that by clicking on the link above. FWIW, I have Toronto FC beating the Seattle Sounders in MLS Cup…

[ MORE: Ranking MLS playoff teams ]

Below is the MLS playoff bracket in full so you can make your picks and let us know who you went for in the comments section below.


MLS Playoff bracket, 2016

MLS Playoff bracket, 2016