So many variables go into how a coach’s performance is viewed by the media, public, and even his players.
Seattle is a terrific example. The Sounders didn’t know Obafemi Martins would bolt for China, nor did they know Clint Dempsey would miss half the season with a heart ailment.
They also didn’t know they’d scoop up Nicolas Lodeiro, who would show up, oh, right at the time one coach left, another stepped in, and Seattle started winning nearly every game in a surprising run to the MLS Cup final.
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So is it Jims and Joes, or Xs and Os?
Obviously it’s a bit of both, and we believe PST’s staff voting for MLS Coach of the Year takes into account the right variables.
Votes came in for several candidates:
— Sounders boss Brian Schmetzer (right) received a write-in despite being left off the MLS ballot. He skippered Seattle back into playoff contention after the Sounders parted ways with longtime coach Sigi Schmid.
— His potential opponent in the final, Greg Vanney, of Toronto FC, also received a write-in third-place vote.
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Two coaches aside from our winner picked up first-place votes:
— New York City boss Patrick Vieira sorted out the mess in the Bronx, working with the egos of several stars, and nurturing several young stars-in-waiting.
— FC Dallas’ Oscar Pareja handled a potential MVP forcing his way out of dodge (Fabian Castillo), while forging the Walker Zimmerman-Matt Hedges partnership and guiding the Texas club to a double.
But the winner simply has to be Pablo Mastroeni.
The club legend entered his third season at the helm under intense scrutiny. Colorado finished his first year 17th in MLS, and its second in 18th.
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While Shkelzen Gashi certainly delivered in his role as one of the Rapids’ three Designated Players, Mastroeni engineered the second-most points in MLS by virtue of a stifling defense and disciplined formation.
Despite DP forward Kevin Doyle only managing six goals and Jermaine Jones fighting injuries for most of the season, the Rapids were able to put other pieces in position to succeed. Dominique Badji moved from an afterthought to a six-goal, four-assist sophomore, while Axel Sjoberg turned in a Defensive Player of the Year caliber season in his second season.
With three of our five first-place votes and a mention on every ballot, Pablo Mastroeni is our 2016 MLS Coach of the Year.