Two MLS head coaching jobs are open and a third may be also if Sigi Schmid leaves Columbus to work with Juergen Klinsmann, whose employment as U.S. national team head coach is drawing near.
As to this possibility, Schmid said only, "You'd have to ask [U.S. Soccer president] Sunil Gulati or Juergen." Schmid has stated he wants to finish the job he started in Columbus but didn't rule out rejoining the federation at some point.
Memo to Crew GM Mark McCullers: Start interviewing, just in case.
In Kansas City, according to sources, the following assistant coaches have been interviewed: D.C. assistants Tom Soehn and U.S. assistant coach Curt Onalfo, and Red Bull assistant Richie Williams. Also on the candidates' list are interim head coach Brian Bliss, and - interestingly - recently fired FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke.
Soehn and Onalfo are in the chase for the FC Dallas job. General manager Michael Hitchcock began interviewing candidates last week and both Onalfo and Soehn were in town.
O, TORONTO. Head coach Mo Johnston is adding three Canadian internationals to his roster, although their acquisitions may not be announced until next week.
Bound for Toronto are defenders Marco Reda (Sogndal, Norway) and Adam Braz (Montreal Impact), and midfielder Chris Pozniak (Haugesund, Norway). Impact goalkeeper Greg Sutton is expected to be signed soon.
In Friday's expansion draft, Toronto FC can select up to 10 players. Each MLS team can lose no more than one player and may protect 11 members of its 28-man roster. Toronto will be able to sign three American players who will not count against its allotment of four senior internationals; otherwise, the league will regard Toronto's Canadian players as it does American players on the other 12 MLS teams.
Developmental players can be picked in the draft but Generation adidas players are protected.
According to several sources, Johnston has also hired a former MLS head coach as an assistant. Sources confirmed the coach's identity but only on condition his name not be released. So we wait.
FAREWELL DINNER? Members of the ABC television crew, some of whom who have been involved with MLS game broadcasts on ABC and ESPN2 for several years, dined together Friday night not knowing how many of them will be working games next season.
Production personnel who have been working MLS telecasts could be hired by ESPN or replaced. They were contracted by the league, which in past seasons had been producing games in association with Winner Communications.
Beginning next season, the broadcaster will fully control the content of game telecasts and other MLS programming. Case in point: Dave O'Brien, who was ripped for his performance at the World Cup yet in the last two telecasts of the season had to manage both Bruce Arena and Eric Wynalda in the booth while incorporating sideline reporter Brandi Chastain. Toss in Rob Stone hosting the MLS Cup 2006 telecast (rather well, by the way) Sunday. Not an easy task, or multi-task, as the case may be.
NUMBERS GAME. MLS has taken the first steps toward a 16-team league, its stated goal by 2010, by adopting a 30-game schedule.
For 2006, there will be two games against each league opponent, with additional intra-conference games filling out the 30-game schedule. With 16 teams, each team would play each other twice for a total of 30 (15 times two).
Whether the league can expand that rapidly will be known by spring, when its plan to add another team in 2008 can be evaluated. Two sources said St. Louis has taken the lead for the next expansion city; Commissioner Don Garber listed nearly a dozen candidates -- one of which was a New York City team that first surfaced two years ago -- and carefully did so alphabetically so as not to "rank" them "officially."