Chivas USA has targeted L.A. Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo as the lead candidate to become Chivas' next head coach, multiple sources told ESPNFC.com.
One source with knowledge of the situation said that representatives of both the club and Onalfo are currently engaged in negotiations to make him the ninth head coach in team history, not including interim managers. But it is understood that Onalfo is content to stay with the Galaxy if the Goats fail to meet his terms, and that includes a pledge from Chivas USA owner Jorge Vergara that he will provide sufficient investment in the squad.
A call to Chivas USA seeking comment wasn't immediately returned.
Chivas USA has been without a head coach ever since manager Jose Luis Real was tabbed to take over parent club Chivas de Guadalajara on Nov. 25. Chivas USA is coming off a dreadful season that saw the Goats finish in last place in the Western Conference with a record of 6-20-8.
Other names have cropped up in conjunction with Chivas USA in recent days, including Colorado Rapids assistant Wilmer Cabrera -- a link first reported by MLSsoccer.com -- and former L.A. Galaxy manager Steve Sampson, although one source said the latter is being considered for a front-office role as opposed to head coach.
Onalfo, a fluent Spanish speaker, is the Goats' first choice. He has twice managed MLS clubs. His first head-coaching stint was with the then-Kansas City Wizards, whom he managed for two full seasons and part of a third, starting in 2007. He twice led K.C. to the playoffs. but he was fired midway through the 2009 season. Onalfo then endured a brutal spell with D.C. United in 2010, and he was fired after just seven months on the job. His combined record in the regular season and playoffs is 31-43-27.
Here's an update on what is going on elsewhere in the MLS coaching carousel.
Real Salt Lake:
With Jason Kreis' departure to New York City FC now official, it appears that Real Salt Lake is moving quickly to find a replacement. An RSL source said earlier in the week that former assistant coach Robin Fraser, current assistant Jeff Cassar and current Atlanta Silverbacks technical director Eric Wynalda are on the initial shortlist, but Wynalda said that as of Thursday he had yet to be contacted and didn't expect to be. That leaves Fraser and Cassar, with Fraser the leading candidate. Earlier this week, C.J. Brown left RSL to take an assistant-coach role with Frank Yallop in Chicago.
With The Province reporting that Bob Bradley has taken himself out of the running for the Whitecaps' post, it looks as if Vancouver has been turned down by its top two candidates, the other being Yallop. The job now appears to be Carl Robinson's to lose, although Vancouver could still opt for Jesse Marsch or Preki. Having worked as an assistant under Martin Rennie for the last two seasons, Robinson has certainly served the necessary apprenticeship required for a head-coaching job, and he's known to be popular with the players. Whether that is enough to trump the experience of Marsch and Preki remains to be seen.
Contrary to what sources have told ESPN FC, FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo insisted the club hasn't interviewed former Columbus Crew midfielder and current Lanus manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto for its vacant head-coach position. However, that might be just an exercise in semantics. The Argentine league season ends this weekend, after which a better gauge of Dallas' interest will be determined. The timeline laid out by Clavijo points to a decision being made before the Christmas holiday. Houston Dynamo assistant Steve Ralston, Seattle Sounders assistant Brian Schmetzer, U.S. U-15 head coach Hugo Perez, and former D.C. United head coach Tom Soehn are among the confirmed interviewees.
With Goal.com reporting that the club has parted ways with manager Marco Schallibaum, there is now a fifth MLS team without a head coach. With noted Italian manager Giovanni Trapattoni out of work, and saying that he has received an offer from an unnamed North American team, there has been some speculation that Montreal is the team in question. But a source told ESPNFC.com that the Impact will look to North America to find Schallibaum’s replacement. Given Mauro Biello's long tenure with the club as both a player and assistant coach, it might be time to give him the full-time job.