Orlando City is now in the market for a new head coach.
While there's no telling who they might be looking at, or even where they're looking, Orlando City has hit a point in its young existence it's never had to go through before. The front office, presumably those at the very top, wanted change, and now it's going to be very, very interesting to see who they bring in next to lead this club in the direction they want it to go.
While Orlando City did not announce a new head coach, or at least an interim coach for the time being, Assistant Coach Bobby Murphy and Orlando City B Head Coach Anthony Pulis will assume all coaching duties for the club through at least this Friday, when Orlando City hosts the Houston Dynamo at Camping World Stadium.
Time will tell what the club is planning to do next, but heck, we can at least take a stab at it, right?
I would be silly to not mention the obvious ties between Pulis and Orlando City. First and foremost, his son, Anthony Pulis, is coaching the Lions' USL squad. And second, Pulis managed Stoke City from 2002-2005 while Phil Rawlins was on the board of directors for the club. While there's no one saying Pulis is attempting, or even willing, to leave the Premier League and West Brom, there's always the possibility of things like this falling right into place.
Pulis, as I mentioned, will help take over the coaching duties while the club searches for its permanent coach. But hey, why not Pulis? He's been with the club since 2012 and his father is also the man I just mentioned above. However, he has very little experience actually managing professionally, as OCB is still his first and only pro managing gig. It's tough to say he's ready at this point, although he has righted the ship with the USL side after a rough start to its expansion season.
He has learned a lot from playing for and working with Heath, in addition to studying at the foot of his successful father, so I'd like to think that if the club feels a total change on the field is needed, having a similar coach might not be the best route.
Another very familiar face to Orlando City fans, O'Connor left the club in 2014 when he was named the first head coach of Louisville City, Orlando City's then-affiliate club in the USL. O'Connor is a strong coach, leading Louisville to the second-best record in the league in its expansion year and turning in similar results this season -- even after losing the league's MVP and Defender of the Year in the off-season -- but he's another guy who was, like Pulis, raised under Heath. I'm sure he'll have interest in the job, but will Orlando City have interest in him at this time?
Like it not, you might start to hear this guy's name pop up. First of all, he's Brazilian, and it's not just us here in Orlando, but there's a handful in the national media that can feel the Brazilian trend at this club, straight from the owner, Flavio Augusto da Silva. Dunga was recently fired by the Brazilian national team after its stunning early exit from the Copa America this summer, and is very much on the market.
Whether or not Dunga has any interest in coaching in MLS is yet to be seen, but Flavio has the money to spend on a big coach if he wants to, and it should also be noted that Dunga and Kaká have a fairly good relationship. The former Brazil boss resurrected Kaká's national team career even though an injury kept the captain out of Copa America Centenario.
Obviously, you're going to hear a lot of people bring up Kreis' name, too. The American coach has spent much of his career both playing and coaching in MLS. He turned a small-market team in Real Salt Lake to one of the more formidable sides in MLS during his tenure from 2007-2013, before making the jump to New York City FC, where he was fired by City Football Group after one season of failing to make the playoffs.
Kreis has yet to sign with another team, and while he might have to change things up dramatically to make his style of play fit in Orlando, that kind of change could be just what ownership is looking for with the proven MLS coach.
Oh hey, this guy's still available. Now, I know that Flavio or whoever is going to be running this managerial search might not give much consideration to the guy who brought the New York Red Bulls their first ever trophy in 2013, but his success during his two years with the Red Bulls should be noted, and he's another guy who knows the league well, having spent much of his career in and around MLS -- something that is still very important -- while the Lions continue to run day-to-day without a true GM steering the ship.
Where's Preki, you guys? Dunno, but maybe Orlando soon? The former Sacramento Republic boss left the USL side last season coming off of a USL championship in 2014 to pursue a coaching job in England that never panned out, and has since been looking for a job. Could that job be in Orlando?
Luiz Felipe Scolari
The former Brazilian national team, Chelsea, and Portugal coach is currently in China, but who's to say he can't be persuaded to come to the United States for an opportunity? Scolari resigned as Brazil's coach following the 2014 World Cup, making way for Dunga's return. I mean, hey, you never know.
Sure, it would be a big step down for the guy that's just coming off coaching Manchester City, not to mention the numerous other massive clubs he's managed throughout his career, but it's worth mentioning that Kaká did play for Pellegrini at Real Madrid, so there's that connection. Other than though, tough to see the Chilean boss coming stateside.
I just like to troll.
The former United States Men's National Team coach hasn't worked in MLS since last managing Chivas USA (RIP Goats) in 2006, having been a coach in the league in some form since MLS started back in 1996, and is currently managing in the French second division with La Havre. Bradley has big dreams of managing in the top leagues over in Europe, so it's almost impossible to even see him coming to the United States at this point. However, maybe he'll get a phone call just to test the waters. The club has gone after former national team coaches before, as evidenced by Tom Sermanni's hiring as Pride boss.
The former Everton man is currently looking for work after an underwhelming 2015-2016 season saw him outed at Goodison. Could he be joining his former goalkeeper Tim Howard in MLS next? Personally, I've always been a Martinez fan and, although I'm sure the club doesn't care about what I think, if he's interested at least let him speak.
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This was just my list of potential candidates, some of which are far more logical than others. Who do you think Orlando City should be looking at? Comment below!