Around MLS: Offseason Volume #3

Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto

Toronto and Montreal have fallen off the Stupid Tree and hit every branch on the way down, while we aim to make sense of it all.

The Montreal Impact have decided to make a head coaching appointment, and this one makesclose to zero sense. Is there something about Southeast Canadian teams that make them compulsive coach changers? They have hired Marco Schällibaum to lead their French-Canadian football forces. Maybe the IM front office believes they've stumbled onto a hidden gem, because while Pep Guardiola won't be coming to manage in MLS anytime soon, we as a league can probably do better than a coach that's never managed outside the second-tier of the Swiss league.

Yes, Mr. Schällibaum deserves praise for making soup out of shoe leather with BSC Young Boys and helping them stave off relegation to the Swiss third division. It is very impressive that he accomplished all this with Monopoly money for a budget, but MLS teams make greater demands from their managers than simple creative scouting and bake-sale fundraisers. For a young team hoping to shake things up, hiring a foreign manager with zero MLS experience perhaps isn't the best route? Foreign managers failing in MLS is a tired, old cliche in our league, and I hope the Impact do not suffer the same fate as other teams that have gone the same route.

I do hope the Impact don't start going the way of Toronto, firing coaches with wild abandon. Mr. Paul Mariner got the chop just a few hours ago, another in the long, bloody line of Manager corpses that TFC keeps piling up. They're the Henry VIII of MLS.

With Ryan Nelsen being hired by Toronto FC, I doubt anyone looks at TFC with fear and respect. This is a man who is jumping ship from moribund Queen's Park Rangers in the EPL, so let us remember where he's coming from and why he would be eager to go anywhere else,despite his prior employment in MLS. FC Dallas apparently is ranked quite lowly by ambition standards, but we could always be that team in Toronto.

Their brand new head coach is going to still be playing in London when the MLS SuperDraft takes place.

No, I don't know either.

I've heard some complaints about Hunt Sports Group and Schellas, but look at Toronto. There is an organization that can't tell its left foot from its right. This next coaching hire better have patience to back it up, because otherwise it will be another downward spiral into moose-eating madness. How is a team likely to find an identity with an unending carousel of managers? It is very likely that TFC's ownership operates on a dartboard decision system, with scoring zones ranging from "Buy a Useless DP", "Fire Coach" to "Change Overall System".

I can't imagine the fun management has every time the team records another 4 game losing streak The managers get together, drink themselves to cirrhosis, play some darts and optimism is renewed!

Mix Diskerud to Portland Timbers? Nope! Rosenborg BK has figured out a way to keep him where he is, which is a bit sad for the Timbers. The swelling of belief in the new season would have been nicely complemented by having Diskerud in the mix.* Though Ives Galarcep is reporting that Diego Valeri is close to joining Portland, so perhaps there is some consolation in that. Portland's ambition is to be commended I think, though we'll see if this pans out. Merrit Paulson has a record of more bark than bite.

Graham Zusi is going on trial at West Ham, which for him is massively exciting, but Sporting fans better hope he doesn't impress too much. Cost-effective, talismanic midfielders are almost impossible to come by in MLS, and while he would net a decent fee, I think most KC fans prefer him to stay. A Sporting midfield without Graham Zusi is a neutered one, and it might give Houston another nauseating shot at the MLS Cup. None of us want that.

Josh Saunders isn't likely to return to the LA Galaxy according to Bruce Arena, which means that leaves the door open for FC Dallas to take the plunge if they feel so inclined. With Carlo Cudicini on the way from Tottenham, the Galaxy feel safe enough about their situation in goal to let yet another goalkeeper walk. Are Saunders' substance abuse issues a factor in this decision?

*I am the Pun-master.

A few questions before we head off:

1) Will Landon Donovan go all Brett Favre on us? This will-he, won't-he drama has the potential to get silly.

2) Toronto: Are they crazy, or is there a method to the (current) madness? No Payne, no gain?

3) Montreal: See above.

4) Graham Zusi: Do you want him to go abroad, or would you rather he stayed and helped increase our league's quality?

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