Update: Looks like the move is happening.
The @LAGalaxy have reached agreement w/ Guillermo Barros Schelotto to become the team's new coach. Schelotto was manager at Argentine power Boca Juniors until Dec. 14. Another coup for GM Dennis te Kloese who, this month, also re-signed @Ibra_official to a record @MLS contract— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) December 26, 2018
Yesterday at noon Atlanta United FC announced the arrival of Dutchman Frank de Boer to replace Tata Martino.
Mind you this is the same club that won MLS Cup a little over two weeks ago, welcoming in a manager oozing with experience executing Total Football at the highest level as a player and a manager for Ajax.
#ATLUTD's Darren Eales says they went from 60 inquiries->20 serious candidates ->7 interviews for the coaching job and de Boer was the top candidate the entire time.— Cody Chaffins (@Cody_Fox5) December 23, 2018
In contrast, the LA Galaxy fired Sigi Schmid in September and have yet to hire a new manager. To an extent this was to be expected: Newly minted GM Dennis te Kloese has only been on the job officially for 13 days.
However, changing the culture of an organization reluctant to embrace change and comfortable with bringing in familiar faces isn’t going to happen overnight. This reality unfolded for Galaxy fans recently when MLS writer Sam Stejskal revealed Caleb Porter and Dom Kinnear shot down short-terms deals with the club.
In hindsight, the news could be a blessing in disguise. Galaxy fans will always have a soft spot for Kinnear, who clearly elevated the group at the tail end of the season. Caleb Porter is a quality head coach who would do a competent job.
That being said, I’m not confident either manager’s skillset aligns with the personality LA should be looking for.
The Galaxy’s status as the league’s flagship franchise has taken a severe hit the past few seasons. First by saddling Los Dos manager Curt Onalfo with an inexperienced roster then giving experienced coach Sigi Schmid a lopsided roster, the organization has gone backwards and subsequently failed with their last two hires.
At a time when the tactical nous of the league is steadily improving and decorated foreign managers are utilized as assets, LA cannot afford to resist pulling the trigger on a top hire while more ambitious clubs reap the benefits.
So who should the organization hire? While there has been word Dennis te Kloese could lure someone from down south (Piojo anyone?), one name in particular sticks out: Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Rumored to be taking the Atlanta job at one point, the Boca Juniors manager recently departed the club and has publicly expressed a desire to coach in MLS.
A former league MVP with the Columbus Crew (Skip to 0:48), the Argentine is familiar with the play on the field and the mechanisms and various oddities off the field. As a manager Schelotto has found success with multiple clubs, capturing the Copa Sudamericana with Lanus before winning back to back titles in Buenos Aires.
While Schelotto might not be regarded as a master tactician, it should be noted the Argentine won’t be tasked with building a club or implementing a working philosophy, but rather earning results with a talented group of players similar to his stint at Boca.
LA and GBS appear to be a good fit. And with rumblings that Dennis te Kloese has offered the job to Schelotto, the Galaxy could be well-poised to take a major step forward for the club.