The dismissal by Chivas USA of Martin Vasquez has left the door open for a number of potential candidates to be the manager of the Goats.
Scott French looks over the list of candidates for Chivas USA.
Looking for potential candidates? There are, at least on the surface, hundreds of them. No, thousands. Which are viable and which are not depends on how much Chivas wants to spend -- both on a coach and on players -- and how wide a net Hamilton and the club's "soccer committee" choose to cast. Some possibilities:
THE BIG NAMES: The biggest, at least in local circles, is German legend Juergen Klinsmann, one of the premier strikers of his (or any) generation -- and an innovative coach who took an unfancied Germany side to the 2006 World Cup semifinals, ran into problems at tradition-minded Bayern Munich (where Vasquez was among his assistants) and twice broke off talks with U.S. Soccer about taking the reigns of our national team, both times over control issues.
Klinsmann lives in Huntington Beach, is between coaching jobs, and is familiar with MLS through his years in the U.S. and history with the Galaxy, for which he served as consultant during Sigi Schmid's reign. He might find the opportunity to build with Chivas most attractive: the club's anti-corporate style stands in stark contrast to their neighbors down the hall, and it wouldn't surprise us if he and President/CEO Shawn Hunter got along famously.
Another: Bora Milutinovic, who has guided five countries at the World Cup (including the U.S., in 1994) and had one dismal stint in charge of the MetroStars (now the Red Bulls) in the late '90s. The Serbian with Mexican roots still has a home in Laguna Niguel.
Who else? Any guess is as good as any other, and none of them are very good at all. The "big" names aren't in the U.S., and they're not coming to L.A. for the kind of money Chivas will offer -- nor the headaches working with MLS's roster rules will bring.
MLS EXPERIENCE: There are plenty of coaches out there who have worked in MLS, including at least two former Chivas USA coaches (Thomas Rongen, now the U.S. under-20 national team boss; and Preki, who was dismissed in mid-September as Toronto FC's coach, the job he took after parting ways with the Goats after last season). There's former Galaxy and U.S./Costa Rica national teams coach Steve Sampson, who we understand lobbied hard for the job before Vasquez was hired.
The best option might be Kansas City Wizards assistant coach Octavio Zambrano, who was the Galaxy's head coach in 1997-99 and in charge of the MetroStars in 2000-02. He subsequently coached in Moldova and Hungary and joined the Wizards' staff last year.
And what about Dave Sarachan, the Galaxy's associate head coach? He won two U.S. Open Cups and reached two MLS Cup finals in 5½ seasons as Chicago Fire coach, but he's a good foil for Bruce Arena, whom he previously assisted at the University of Virginia, with D.C. United and with the U.S. national team.
FORMER PLAYERS: A very interesting pool of possibilities here, and we'll focus on three: Jesse Marsch, Mike Sorber and Eric Wynalda.
The Princeton-educated Marsch, Chivas' on-field leader until he retired after last season to join former Chivas USA coach Bob Bradley's U.S. national team staff, knows the club's culture and played a huge role in setting the standards the Goats failed to meet this year. But he's short on coaching experience and might be a better assistant-coach hire.
Sorber, a U.S. assistant under Bradley since May 2007, is a coaching star in the making. He came out of nowhere to start in central midfield for the 1994 World Cup team, then played in Mexico (with Pumas UNAM) and in MLS (for Kansas City, the MetroStars, New England and Chicago). Sorber's dad is a legendary junior college coach in St. Louis, and the assumption has been Sorber will take the job at Saint Louis University, his alma mater, when he's ready to do so.