Toronto FC made the decision on Sunday to relieve Chris Armas as head coach. The Toronto FC job, now open for the second time in six months, remains one of the most desirable in MLS.
The removal of Chris Armas comes just a day after Toronto FC lost 7-1 at D.C. United. With that loss, Toronto FC is bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 1-8-2 mark (5 points).
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It is a bit cruel for Armas, who was without a number of his difference makers this year. Alejandro Pozuelo, the MVP of the league in 2020, has been limited to just four matches with two starts this year. Jozy Altidore was suspended by the club and has played in just 189 minutes. Recently signed Designated Player Yeferson Soteldo has five appearances but has yet to score or assist.
The backline is a mess and the club, clearly going through a bit of a rebuild after head coach Greg Vanney departed last year, was not ready to compete. Factor in Toronto FC being unable to play any home matches at BMO Field due to COVID-19 and being thus based in Orlando made for another obstacle for the organization to overcome.
Still, the club’s record was surprising and Saturday’s loss at D.C. United was the final nail in the coffin.
Five candidates who Toronto FC could consider after removing Armas:
Curt Onalfo – Currently the technical director of the New England Revolution, the former D.C. United and LA Galaxy head coach knows MLS as a player and having worked in the league extensively as a coach and in management. He has worked for some big clubs before, making him an interesting name when it comes to managing a big club like Toronto FC. His knowledge of the league is certainly second to none.
John Hackworth – This would be a bit of an uncharacteristic move as Hackworth just left his position at Louisville City in the USL, but Hackworth knows MLS as a former head coach of the Philadelphia Union. Toronto FC needs to balance the squad and Hackworth’s knowledge of the second division plus his prior experience with the Union (not a record but…) could get him in the conversation.
Carl Robinson – The former Vancouver Whitecaps head coach is currently in Australia but still holds a high reputation around MLS. Having played for Toronto FC and being loved by the fans, this move could absolutely work. Few did more with less in MLS than Robinson did with Vancouver. He has a good grasp of handling a locker room and enough cache as a former Premier League player, Wales international and MLS midfielder to control the fractured mentality of this club.
Tim Cahill – While he has never been a head coach at this level, Cahill is a name to consider as his own managerial career begins to take off. His prowess as a former MLS player is legendary as are his exploits for Australia’s national team. Whispers that he was interested in the New York Red Bulls job last year and Atlanta United this past offseason means he’d want to make a move to MLS. But a bit doubtful that sporting director Ali Curtis will go with a newbie on this one.
Alan Pardew – Any time there’s a high profile job open in MLS, Pardew is seemingly linked. Best known for his four-plus seasons at Newcastle United, the 59-year old would know how to command a locker room for sure. Is he the right fit for Curtis and Toronto FC at this time? Probably not. Pardew, however, is a name that will invariably be linked to the team at some point, though.
Dome Torrent – This is perhaps the most intriguing one. Torrent, who worked closely with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and in previous stops, is currently a free agent. He made a career, before his time with New York City FC, of working with young players – a definite bonus as Toronto FC begins to integrate more Homegrown players into their roster. He also has managed big players, something that is needed in a toxic locker room in Toronto. This could be the morning line favorite right here.
Mike Sorber – While he has never been a head coach at the MLS level, the top man at Los Angeles FC can and should start getting looks for positions. A former United States international and MLS player, Sorber is a tactically strong assistant who would be a soothing presence in an MLS locker room.
Ezra Hendrickson – The top assistant at the league leading Seattle Sounders, Hendrickson got some looks at head coaching jobs this offseason. Perhaps Toronto FC will take a second look at Hendrickson, who is known as a good manager of players and personalities and who knows MLS intimately. He will be a great hire somewhere, perhaps Toronto FC is the place.