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.