Robin Fraser

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New-look Rapids trounce thin Sounders (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less):  What the Colorado Rapids could have been if they had appointed Robin Fraser earlier this season. Sure, the Western Conference is no walk in the park, but there are currently very few teams playing as inspired as the Rapids. A longtime forgotten assistant, Fraser has brought hope to Commerce City by doing what both Anthony Hudson and interim Conor Casey couldn’t do: empower the youth. In his first game at the helm, 22-year-old Jonathan Lewis scored the first double of his young career. On Saturday, Andre Shinyashiki recorded his own in the Rapids’ 2-0 win over a depleted Seattle Sounders, who were 10 players short due to international duty. Regardless, Colorado, for a second week in a row, put on a commendable performance with their newfound proactive scheme. The new era is certainly welcomed at Dick’s Sporting Good Park, regardless if the Rapids’ playoff chances are long out the window.

Three moments that mattered

41′ — Shinyashiki puts Colorado ahead  — There aren’t many rookies playing better than the 22-year-old.

70′ — Shinyashiki records a double — Seven goals this season for the Rapids forward.

86′ — Stefan Frei with the point-blank save — This has to be the Save of the Week.

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Man of the match: Andre Shinyashiki

Goalscorers: Shinyashiki (41′), Shinyashiki (70′)

Rapids name Robin Fraser as head coach

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids have named former Major League Soccer player and longtime assistant Robin Fraser as their head coach.

Fraser steps in for Conor Casey, who’s been the interim coach since the team fired Anthony Hudson in May. Colorado is 7-14-6 and at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Fraser’s first match in charge will be Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.

The 52-year-old Fraser has served as an assistant coach at Toronto FC since 2015.

Fraser was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLS player draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Over his career, Fraser suited up for the Galaxy, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew. He said in a statement Sunday he considers Colorado home because he’s so familiar with the soccer community.

Rapids general manager Padraig Smith said Fraser has a “deep knowledge of what it takes to be successful in MLS.”

RSL fires head coach Cassar three games into 2017 MLS season

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Jeff Cassar is out as head coach of Real Salt just three games into the 2017 season, the MLS club announced on Monday.

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Cassar became the boss at Rio Tinto Stadium following Jason Kreis’s departure in the weeks after MLS Cup 2013. Cassar’s RSL teams posted an overall record of 38W-37L-30D during his tenure, qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2014 and 2016, but failing to advance to the next round on either occasion.

[ MORE: Sat. (afternoon) roundup — NYCFC dominate, disappoint; ATL roll ]

With his last contract set to expire over the offseason, Cassar was handed only a one-year contract following RSL’s elimination from the 2016 playoffs, making Monday’s news hardly surprising.

[ MORE: Sat. (late-night) roundup — FCD, PDX emerge as early favorites ]

Assistant coach Daryl Shore will take over in the interim. Former New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke was named head coach of Real Monarchs, RSL’s USL affiliate, during the offseason. His name will be spoken regularly in speculating about Cassar’s replacement. Robin Fraser, who served as an RSL assistant from 2007-2010 and has two seasons of experience as head coach of Chivas USA, is another popular pick.

U.S. federation announces another strong National Soccer Hall of Fame nominee class

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Another tough round of voting is ahead as the final list of nominees was announced for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

In its release today on the nominees, U.S. Soccer says voting will begin immediately in three categories: Player, Veteran Player and Builder. Voting continues through Feb. 7.

Hall of Fame voters – including coaches and officials from the pro game, U.S. Soccer coaches and officials, designated media members and Hall of Famers – can list up to 10 candidates on their ballot. For the Player category, athletes appearing on two-thirds (66.7 percent) of voter ballots are elected. Players not appearing on at least five percent of ballots will be subtracted from the ballot (pending availability for the Veterans ballot.)

It’s not easy to gain the needed percentage. Two years ago only four players were selected: Tony Meola, Claudio Reyna, Tony DiCicco and Desmond Armstrong. A year ago only two made the cut: Joe-Max Moore and Peter Vermes.

These really are tough choices. On this ballot there are guys who were first to important MLS scoring mileposts (Jason Kreis), guys that surely would have caught up with them but for career-ending injuries (Taylor Twellman) guys who accomplished so much despite unfortunate injuries (John O’Brien), plenty of women’s players who won multiple World Cups or Olympic golds (Kristine Lilly and Brianna Scurry just to name a couple), guys who scored huge World Cup goals (Clint Mathis, Brian McBride — pictured above), huge MLS international stars (Marco Etcheverry) … and the list goes on.

In fact, here’s the entire list:

2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot

  • Chris Armas
  • Raul Diaz Arce
  • Marco Etcheverry
  • Lorrie Fair
  • Robin Fraser
  • Chris Henderson
  • Zoran Karic
  • Chris Klein
  • Jason Kreis
  • Eddie Lewis
  • Kristine Lilly
  • Kristin Luckenbill
  • Shannon MacMillan
  • Kate Sobrero Markgraf
  • Clint Mathis
  • Brian McBride
  • Jaime Moreno
  • Victor Nogueira
  • John O’Brien
  • Ben Olsen
  • Cindy Parlow Cone
  • Steve Ralston
  • Ante Razov
  • Tiffany Roberts
  • Tony Sanneh
  • Briana Scurry
  • Taylor Twellman

Top five MLS coaching candidates (plus one apparently already off the “available list”)

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The urge to hire coaches with an accent (foreign dudes, that is) will simply be too irresistible for some Major League Soccer owner or GM. Managers from lands afar with no MLS experience may work in MLS, or they may not; there are examples on either side of that argument.

But there are plenty of good choices from the good ol’ USA, men with ample knowledge of the MLS quirkiness, the measurable tax of summer heat and travel, salary cap restrictions, the personnel acquisition peculiarities, etc.

(MORE: Updated list of MLS coaching dismissals)

(MORE: Why Martin Rennie failed at Vancouver)

Here are the top five North American coaching candidates (in alphabetical order), plus one bonus choice, who may already have been picked off the shelf:

Bob Bradley: It seems pretty unlikely the former U.S. national team boss will remain with Egypt once the Pharaohs are eliminated from World Cup contention (as they almost certainly will be upon the return leg against Ghana). Bradley (pictured) would love to remain at the international level. But he’s a soccer man through and through, and if he doesn’t get an offer quickly, the MLS suitors would be silly not to line up. Columbus is certainly eager to get in line.

Robin Fraser: Pay no attention to that dark spot on his resume, a.k.a. the Chivas USA period; that place is just this side of hopeless. (Although for Chivas USA fans, I certainly do hope things improve.) Everyone respects Fraser; he’ll get another shot at some point. (Probably at Real Salt Lake if Jason Kreis grabs the chance to become New York City FC’s first manager.)

Jesse Marsch: The longtime MLS midfield fixture did good things in 2012 with expansion Montreal. A Bradley protégé, he’s going to be a good manager somewhere – it just looks like Montreal wasn’t the right fit. Maybe he’ll be a better fit at Chicago if the Fire decides that Frank Klopas isn’t the right guy for the bench at Toyota Park.

Tab Ramos: As I wrote about before, he looks to me a lot like the next Caleb Porter. And who wouldn’t want the next MLS Coach of the Year – since Porter seems likely to be handed that honor in December? Ramos isn’t just a student of the game, he’s a student of teaching the game. In working with young players, you could do a whole lot worse than the thoughtful, former U.S. midfield standout.  

Eric Wynalda: I spoke to Wynalda recently in Kansas City, prior to a U.S. national team practice. He likes his TV gig. It works for him now – but I got the feeling he would listen to the right MLS offer. It has to be a good fit; the former American international is outspoken, and it’s going to take a bit of a maverick owner, someone who understands Wynalda isn’t a group-think guy and doesn’t always care about diplomacy. But he is a sharp guy, and he’ll get a lot out of his players.

(Bonus candidate: Frank Yallop. Thing is, he already seems to be off the shelf. Reports are coming out of Canada that he’s already in line to replace Martin Rennie at Vancouver. If not … then add him to this list. Everyone loves playing for him, and he remains well respected.)

(MORE: The MLS coaching carousel is about to get crazy)

(MORE: With coaching vacancies ahead, there should be a race for Tab Ramos)