In the previous article in the series, we had a look at the USL coaches that could join San Antonio FC to replace Darren Powell, today it’s time to move up and set sights on MLS experience for the squad to take SAFC to the next level.
James O’Connor (Most Recently Orlando City FC)
Handed a poor Orlando City FC team, James O’Connor was always on a hiding to nothing there and only managed 13 wins from 56 matches at a -26 goal difference, that makes O’Connor look like a bad choice. But it’s his record at Louisville City, including a USL Cup, which makes him an impressive choice. Louisville’s first head coach, JOC managed a 71-28-26 record for a 57 percent winning record and a stunning +106 goal difference. O’Connor’s proven record at USL level should make him a coveted target this off-season.
Mike Petke (Most Recently Real Salt Lake)
There aren’t many people that can boast a 100 percent win rate in a league but that is what Mike Petke boasts in USL Championship, having won his only game as coach of Real Monarchs SLC before moving on to manage their parent club. While at Real Salt Lake Petke led his team to 37 wins at a 40 percent success rate, not to mention having given New York Red Bulls a rare trophy with the 2013 Supporter’s Shield. Petke is unquestionably the best manager in the United States that doesn’t currently have a job. But there’s the rub, there’s a reason no one has taken a chance on Petke, his exit from Real didn’t exactly cover him in glory, sending a tirade at referees that included homophobic and racist slurs would probably make him a bad fit for San Antonio but his record forces him in to the discussion.
Veljko Paunovic (Chicago Fire FC)
After another bad season for Chicago Fire, there’s every chance that Veljko Paunovic could be looking for work by the time the 2020 USL Championship season rolls around. Having come to the windy city fresh off of winning the 2015 Under 20 World Cup as a manager there were high hopes but the performances haven’t been there. With a 31-25-44 record (31 percent wins) it’s not the worst imaginable but it leaves Paunovic vulnerable. While that’s not stellar the step down a division may make Paunovic a success and getting a World Cup winner to manage your side could certainly help recruit talent, and he’s proven at taking youngsters to success, something that SAFC could really use.
Carl Robinson (Most Recently Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
With the Whitecaps as Carl Robinson’s only coaching experience, a step down may be helpful for his career at this point. Last season didn’t go well for Carl Robinson but he’s proven that he can do well, having managed a 78-52-77 record for a 38 percent winning record and more wins than losses, add to that his 52 caps for Wales and SAFC could certainly do worse than Robinson.