Atlanta United are pining for the good old days. While former manager Gerardo 'Tata' Martino is with the Mexico national team and looking like favorites to win the Gold Cup, Atlanta United have hit rock bottom once again. After Martino left the MLS side, it led to a failed experiment with Dutch manager Frank de Boer which led to the latest failed experiment with Gabriel Heinze. After the latter was sacked over the weekend due to horrific results and poor managing of the team both in practice and in games, it's back to square one for Atlanta.
All fans want are those magical times with Tata to return. The song "Si No Te Hubieras Ido" by Mexican singer Marco Antonio Solis perfectly describes what all die-hard United fans are feeling when they think back on the days of the Argentine, when no team in MLS came close to matching the skill, style and results they achieved. Is it so hard to get it again? Well, it's proven to be.
The song, translated, says:
I miss you more than ever and I don't know what to do
I wake up in the morning and I remember you
Just waiting to live another day without you
The mirror doesn't lie, I look so different
I miss you
It's been a tough time lately for the club, with fans undoubtedly going to YouTube to watch videos of when their team was good. It's been years now, missing on numerous transfers that haven't pained out, failing to find consistency in attack by averaging just a goal a game, winning just 15 percent of their matches this season. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Atlanta's president Darren Eales said this weekend that he wants the next hire to be made quickly, while using analytics to assist with its search. Atlanta has a history of looking abroad and focusing on shiny, well-known, objects to lead the side. With time being of the essence, here are three managers who are available that could make sense as they look to get on track. While the team has dipped into South America twice and Europe once, here are three names that I think they should consider.
Another former Barca boss. Valverde is a terrific manager who did fairly well at Barca, all things considered. He is a heck of a lot better than Barca's current manager, Ronald Koeman. Valverde is easy going, passionate, dedicated and a coach players really like to play for. There may be a language barrier there, but that didn't stop Atlanta before.
Valverde likes for his team to control the ball, be patient in attack, and with the technical ability Atlanta have on paper, he would make a lot of sense. It feels like his next job will still be in Europe, but it's worth calling his reps.
In his career, he's won 10 trophies.
The Portuguese manager has a fairly calm presence, but he can turn it on. He's speaks what is on his mind and had a heck of a run in Mexico. He won numerous trophies at Santos Laguna and Cruz Azul, and while his last two stops outside of Mexico (Rangers and Al Shabab) didn't go that well, he knows how to deliver at Western clubs where the expectations are high and can regain the focus and cohesion of the locker room.
He's had a winning record at every club but one and has five trophies to his name.
Ah, Franky. Why not? He did fairly well at Derby, had some good moments at Chelsea, and he has ties to MLS, having played for NYCFC. There is no language barrier here, and let's not forget he had Chelsea flying at one point and looked like the answer.
While his stock has dropped considerable after being sacked by the Blues, only to see them win the Champions League under Thomas Tuchel, Lampard is certainly eager to prove himself. While he will want his next job to be in England, he would be another big-name coaching hire. The expectations would be high, but his familiarity with the league could be valuable in terms of him shaping the squad as to how he thinks it can be successful in the league.