September 25, 2022

The majority of Major League Soccer teams are halfway through their 2022 seasons, with the rest one or two games away from the middle. As such, the sample size is now large enough to draw strong conclusions about the 28 clubs in the league.

Steve Cherundolo has made LAFC a firm contender for the MLS Cup once again – imagine how scarier the Black and Gold will be once Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini arrive and start playing. On the East Coast, New York City FC, having shaken off the hangover after winning the MLS Cup last season, are preparing to retain the trophy in the Bronx.

Then there are the teams on the other end of the spectrum, the ones who, although it’s only July 1st, are probably ready to move on to 2023. Some of the managers of these teams are unlikely to stay long enough. to see the dawn of a new season, when some might not even see the conclusion of this one.

Which of these coaches will be spared and who will be looking for a new gig next year? We assessed managers who have been in their position for at least one full season (which is why you won’t see someone like Chicago Fire FC’s Ezra Hendrickson on this list), quantifying their influence in the game, determining their responsibility for the state of their squad and taking into account any additional relevant context, and offered a list of five names who should feel the heat this summer… if they haven’t already.

How do you fire a guy who deserves to have his own statue in front of his stadium? In all likelihood, you don’t. Vermes is an icon at Kansas City, directly responsible for four of the club’s seven trophies. If there is a change to be made, it must be done delicately and collaboratively.

Given his Sporting heritage, any heat he might be feeling is likely due to the temperature of his morning coffee. There are tangible apologies for the situation Vermes presided over in 2022, none greater than the loss of designated players Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda to season-ending injuries. In a league of such parity and thin margins, the players whose salaries count very little against the cap are the ones who determine whether it’s a feast or a famine for their team.

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It’s hard to imagine an MLS manager competing without two of his three DPs, but regardless, SKC have been mediocre this year. Very poor. They are third from bottom in the Fan Shield rankings, have the worst goal differential in MLS and the second worst goals for, goals against and points per game. Even Vermes’ in-game adjustments haven’t helped, as Sporting have the second-worst second-half goal differential in the league at minus-10.

4. Caleb Porter | Columbus Crew | Hired in 2019

Porter is an adopted Ohioan and took the crew to an MLS Cup win in 2020, not to mention beating Cruz Azul to lift the Campeones Cup last season. It would take an almighty fall from grace to see Columbus leave the coach who, along with chairman and chief executive Tim Bezbatchenko, was the face of the club’s renaissance after it was taken over by the Haslam family in January 2019.

But it is a fall. The Crew’s MLS Cup title defense ended on Decision Day last season, a post-season run in 2021 escaping black and gold, and they find themselves at the away looking for playoff spots in mid-2022.

Lucas Zelarayan, one of the league’s most electric playmakers, has missed time this season due to hamstring and knee issues, but that can’t explain the pedestrian play this season. It’s no longer a team on a shoestring, either: The Ohio capital club has the 10th-highest payroll in the league, the kind of expense that should insulate a team from the absence of its star player for four games.

3.Robin Fraser | Colorado Rapids | Hired in 2019

In March, the Rapids signed Fraser to a new contract through 2025, so from the perspective of owner Stan Kroenke’s portfolio, there’s probably not much appetite to reverse course three months later. The reality, however, is that this team is falling short of expectations this year.

Colorado made the playoffs in each of Fraser’s two full seasons in charge, and last year he finished the regular season top of the Western Conference, a success that should have been the foundation upon which he could build a competitor. Instead, the team regressed, sitting in third place from the bottom of the conference, tied for last playoff spot and bottom of the table.

Is the former manager of Chivas USA a victim of his own success? Undoubtedly. The Rapids rank 25th in league payrolls and have only qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs twice in the eight years before Fraser. He’s steadied the ship and raised expectations, but his team hasn’t been as tough to beat as they have been the past two seasons, and that’s best illustrated on the road, where Colorado haven’t won in eight trials.

The only other teams to be winless away in 2022? Charlotte FC, Toronto FC and the San Jose earthquakes.

2. Phil Neville | InterMiami CF | Hired in 2021

No one on this list boasts a worse points-per-game figure throughout his tenure than Neville’s 1.11 average. And for a team with such lofty ambitions, with the threat of Leonardo Campana and the world-class experience of Gonzalo Higuain, to score the third-fewest goals in the league is pretty damning.

Miami ranks 25th of 28 in second-half goal differential, suggesting Neville struggles to make meaningful adjustments when games don’t go to plan. (Or, perhaps, the herons are just wilting in the heat and humidity of South Florida.)

The fact that Inter have the third-highest payroll in the league, according to the MLS Players Association, only adds to the perception that this collection of players is underperforming under this manager. This stat can be misleading, however. Due to the violation of MLS budget and rules in 2020, Miami received a severe sanction last season which was implemented in 2022: a reduction of $2.2 million in allocation funds distributed over this season and next, which has crippled the club’s ability to build depth in the roster. slot machines behind their highest paid players.

OK, so it’s barely been a week since Minnesota announced they re-signed Heath to a new contract covering the 2024 season, but that won’t stop us from making him No. 1 on our list. This is the former Orlando City SC manager’s sixth season in charge, and during that time the Loons have averaged 1.32 points per game – a pace that hasn’t been good enough to qualifying for the Western Conference playoffs since 2012 — including that year’s 1.24 PPG figure.

Twenty-two MLS teams have a better goal differential in the second half of games this season than Minnesota, underscoring Heath’s struggles to adapt when his Plan A hasn’t worked or when opponents have adapted to his tactic. The way his team is playing this season has evolved from a possession-dependent team to one that presses and creates turnovers up the pitch, but questions have to be asked about such a strategy when lining up the fourth oldest team in the league.

Once credited for developing Dom Dwyer and Cyle Larin in Orlando, Heath had a harder time getting his No. 9 production in the Twin Cities. Abu Danladi, Christian Ramirez, Mason Toye, Darwin Quintero, Angelo Rodriguez, Luis Amarilla, Kei Kamara and Adrien Hunou all came with high expectations, but none had a lasting impact. In fact, only twice in Heath’s six-year reign has a forward recorded double-digit goals at Minnesota.