Egypt's head coach Bob Bradley of the U.S. gestures during their 2014 World Cup Brazil qualifying soccer match against Mozambique at Borg El Arab "Army Stadium"

Ambitious Whitecaps have Jason Kreis, Bob Bradley on their coaching wish list


As mentioned earlier today, Vancouver newspaper The Province slipped a list of coaching candidates into their report on the Whitecaps’ contract decisions. Assistant Carl Robinson’s in the mix, former Montréal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch got an interview, and Richie Williams, a man some around the league have thought worthy of a shot for some time, has also talked to the club.

But the most notable names on The Province’s list are a couple of bombshells: current Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis, and former U.S. Men’s National Team boss Bob Bradley.

Either hire would be a boon for the Whitecaps, but looking at how the list is being reported (as well as what we know about the two coaches), one man is a far more likely hire than the other.

Kreis is just on the wishlist. His team nine days away from playing for a second title, the RSL boss has other things on his mind. Perhaps his people are talking to their people, but even then, a move northwest seems unlikely.

Kreis has long been connected with the job at NYCFC. If he’s going to leave Salt Lake, it’s more likely to be for that kind of opportunity. While there are a number of reasons a coach would want to take up residence with the Whitecaps (great city, strong talent base, decent financial resources, good fans), it’s unclear why somebody in Kreis’s place would trade Utah for British Colombia.

You can’t blame VWFC president Bob Lenarduzzi for keeping Vancouver’s options open, though, just like you can’t blame him for sounding out Bob Bradley. According to The Province, the Whitecaps have had discussions with the former U.S. boss, now free after finishing his duties with Egypt. While at first blush it may seem like a weird fit, this also looks like a longshot that’s worth pursuing.

Consider the situation Bradley’s in. He doesn’t need to take a job tomorrow (his phone won’t stop ringing anytime soon), yet no matter how noble his experience was in Egypt, it may not open that many new doors. People are going to remember that 6-1 in Ghana, though in North America, Bradley is highly respected for the work he did with the U.S. national team and at club level. In Major League Soccer, he is a prime coaching candidate, a status he doesn’t have anywhere else.

That’s both the reason for Vancouver’s interest and why the job makes sense for Bradley. If his options mean Major League Soccer is his best choice, he’s unlikely to get a better offer. Few competitive teams are changing coaches, and among those that do, Vancouver’s stands out. Real Salt Lake may open up, but another former Chivas USA coach (Robin Fraser) is the favorite there, while the Whitecaps’ situation is better than the one in Dallas. Unless the Toronto job opens up and Bradley wants to crack that nut, it’d be better to try and be the guy that gets talents like Mattocks, Miller, Manneh, Teibert, Salgado, Reo-Coker, Koffie, and DeMerit over the top.

Plus, if Bob Lenarduzzi is targeting the likes of Kreis and Bradley, it’s reasonable to assume the money’s there. Real Salt Lake is willing to make Kreis the third-highest paid coach in Major League Soccer. Vancouver wouldn’t jump into those sweepstakes if they were unwilling to match.

Whenever a big coaching job in Major League Soccer opens up, Bradley’s going to be mentioned, but with the talent in Vancouver, he could turn the Whitecaps into a regular postseason presence. And if that happens, Vancouver’s will become one of the league’s best jobs. All it takes is one man to go to B.C. Place and put the pieces together.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.