The only coach Orlando City SC has ever known is gone. Adrian Heath was let go yesterday after leading Orlando City since 2008, when they were the Austin Aztex. With Heath gone and Orlando beginning a search for a new head man, where do they go from here? With a new stadium being built and a club in just its second year in MLS, can Orlando make a big splash?
Majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva called the firing a “very difficult moment” but he fully stands by the decision made by the Board. Expect Orlando and its Brazilian owner to leave no stone unturned as it searches for a new head coach. Here are some names they could be looking at.
Kreis is the hot name on everyone’s lips when any Major League Soccer coaching job is mentioned. Kreis was unceremoniously dumped in November 2015 after just one year at New York City FC, an expansion club the same season as Orlando City SC. The résumé in MLS is there as Kreis won MLS Cup in 2009 and had great success with Real Salt Lake before leaving for the Big Apple. Kreis has been recently helping with Jurgen Klinsmann’s US Men’s National Team staff.
Pulis is coach of Orlando’s USL team, Orlando City B, and will help lead Orlando City in the interim. His father, Tony Pulis, is currently the manager of West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League. Pulis finished his playing career with Orlando, playing 3 seasons for the club in USL and winning a championship. He has a history with the club, and a pedigree, and could be a natural fit should the Orlando board decide to stay in-house with their hire.
The former Brazil boss expressed his distaste for MLS after losing Kaka from the Copa America squad due to injury. Dunga, however is out of a job, and beggars can’t be choosers. The Brazilian links are there with Orlando, from ownership to captain, and the move would make sense if Dunga has interest. The one qualm would be the lack of success by foreign managers in MLS, although Patrick Vieira may be helping put that to bed. Expect Kaka to have a major say in whichever direction Orlando go, and he might just point to his old boss as a possible replacement. Whether or not Dunga has his eyes on a higher profile gig however, is anybody’s guess.
After Kreis, this is usually the second name that gets discussed after a coaching vacancy (or potential coaching vacancy) opens up in Major League Soccer. Giovanni is currently the head coach of the New York Cosmos who finished the spring season of NASL tied for points w/ eventual champion Indy Eleven. Savarese’s playing career has spanned the entirety of the globe, and he while he’s relatively new to management his experience in the game cannot be denied. Rumor is that he was offered an interview for the Houston position in 2014 but declined. It’s difficult to say if he’s interested in returning to MLS where he served as the head of youth development for the Metrostars/Redbulls from 2005-2007. Savarese is also the current Sporting Director at the New York Cosmos, and so it may be difficult to get him to leave a role where he has such a significant amount of authority over a club.
Marc Dos Santos
Continuing to sift through the lower leagues of the American soccer pyramid for diamonds, perhaps one of the shiniest right now is Swope Park Rangers Manager, Marc Dos Santos. The 39 year old has a pretty impressive resume. In 2008 he took over the Montreal Impact as an interim head coach. That year he led the Impact to victory in the first ever Canadian Championship tournament. He was given the role on a permanent basis in 2009, and led the Impact to a USL First division championship in that campaign. Following his stint with the Impact, Dos Santos spent time in Brazil coaching youth teams where was successful enough to land himself a position as the sporting director of Desportivo Brasil. In 2015, the Canadian/Portuguese manager led the Ottawa Fury to a NASL Soccer Bowl appearance while also being awarded the NASL head coach of the year. Marc Dos Santos very likely has his eyes set on a Major League Soccer job in the future, and Orlando might be a very good opportunity to test a young coach who has found success at nearly every level in which he’s managed.