Robinson set to step up in Vancouver

Posted by Jeff Carlisle

Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie shouts directions against Chivas USAAllsportCarl Robinson is set to replace Martin Rennie (above) in Vancouver.

Carl Robinson will be the next head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps, sources have confirmed to ESPNFC.com.

Robinson, 37, has spent the past two years as an assistant under Martin Rennie, whose contract was not renewed.

CTV’s Perry Solkowski and The Province were the first to break the news. An official announcement could come as soon as Monday.

Robinson’s playing career was spent largely in England with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sunderland and Norwich City, but also included spells in MLS with Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls. He also represented Wales 52 times.

Rennie’s time with Vancouver was not without success, as he logged a regular-season record of 24-25-19, and led the Caps to a playoff berth in 2012. But the Scot was unable to lead the team back to the postseason a year later, despite Vancouver actually recording more points. A poor finish to the campaign, a dynamic that occurred in 2012 as well, also factored into the decision.

When the choice was made to cut ties with Rennie, Robinson was viewed as a dark horse candidate, as Vancouver pursued Frank Yallop and Bob Bradley. But Yallop surprised many by quickly taking a job with the Chicago Fire shortly after the MLS regular season ended, and Bradley opted to pursue opportunities in Europe.

Robinson, whose candidacy had the backing of several players, has beaten out former Montreal Impact manager Jesse Marsch, as well as former Chivas USA and Toronto FC manager Preki, for the post.

Klopas Montreal bound?

The Montreal Impact is in talks with former Chicago Fire manager Frank Klopas to become the team’s next head coach, sources have told ESPNFC.com.

The Chicago Fire Confidential blog reported early Friday that Klopas was interviewing with the club and sources have since confirmed that discussions have progressed quickly and the two sides have engaged in contract talks, despite the fact Marco Schallibaum is still officially the Impact’s head coach.

There is a potential sticking point with regard to Klopas, however, which might explain Schallibaum’s status. Not surprisingly, Klopas is believed to want final say on who his assistants are, but longtime Montreal assistant Mauro Biello is known to be a favorite of owner Joey Saputo and is also the brother-in-law of sporting director Nick De Santis. It is likely the pair might balk over Biello being excluded from the coaching staff.

no_source / Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesFrank Klopas previously played for Chicago before going on to coach the club.

Klopas was let go on Oct. 30, three days after the conclusion of the league campaign, having served as the club’s technical director for the past six seasons and as head coach for parts of the past three. The Fire went 39-29-23 during that tenure.

He led the Fire to the playoffs during his first full season in charge -- 2012 -- but could not duplicate the feat, despite having the services of league MVP Mike Magee at his disposal.

As for Schallibaum, a report from Goal.com stated that the Swiss manager had been fired, but a team spokesman told ESPNFC.com via email on Friday that “Schallibaum is still the head coach but his position is TBD. The technical staff is looking at all its options since the end of last season.”

Schallibaum guided Montreal to a 14-13-7 mark in 2013 and a playoff spot which came about largely thanks to a strong start. Indeed, a late-season drop in form almost cost a spot in the postseason, as Montreal ended up fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Their postseason campaign was a short one, beaten as they were 3-0 by the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference play-in game.

Schmetzer rising in Dallas

FC Dallas is still without a head coach but a source indicated that the candidacy of Seattle Sounders assistant coach Brian Schmetzer has gathered some momentum, and that he is one of the finalists for the job.

Schmetzer and Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo were teammates in the 1980s with the San Diego Sockers and Schmetzer served as Clavijo’s assistant when the latter was coaching the Seattle SeaDogs in the Continental Indoor Soccer League.

Former Columbus Crew midfielder and current Lanus manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto continues to be linked with the post, despite a denial from Clavijo. The Argentine Torneo Inicial ends on Sunday, after which the state of Schelotto’s candidacy should become more clear.

Additional reporting by Alex Labidou.

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