Atlanta United announced on Tuesday that manager Gerardo Martino will be stepping down at the end of the season, and it’s just another sign that he will likely become the coach of the Mexican national team before long. Here’s what to know:
What it means for Atlanta
It means the club loses one of the top coaches that MLS has seen, somebody who has brought experience and a fun style of play to one of the league’s top up-and-coming franchises. Martino has his team in first place in the Eastern Conference with a league-high 69 points, and Atlanta is the favorite right now to win MLS Cup 2018.
The club announced it will launch a global search for a replacement, and it wouldn’t be shocking for them to bring in another international coach. What they got from Martino was somebody with a great eye for talent. He was able to snatch a player like Miguel Almiron from Argentine club Lanus, and he helped raise the new club’s profile, taking them to the playoffs in their first season and earning lots of fans around the world, especially throughout South America.
Atlanta is as attractive of a job as there is in MLS with the new stadium and the history of spending money on players.
What it means for Mexico
All signs point to Martino taking the Mexican national team job. ESPNFC reported that Martino had a verbal deal to take over as the replacement for Juan Carlos Osorio in December, when the MLS playoffs finish.
And the move makes sense for Martino, because he’s got international experience with stints coaching the Argentina and Paraguay national teams. Because of his coaching experience in La Liga with Barcelona and with Atlanta in MLS, he is familiar with a good chunk of Mexico’s players, going up against guys like Carlos Vela here in the United States.
He’s as high-profile of a coach as Mexico has had in a long time with a proven track record.
What it means for Martino
There’s no doubt Martino is viewed more as a national team manager than a club one. Though he had success at Atlanta and did very well at Newell’s, what he did with Paraguay was nothing short of spectacular, taking the team to the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals.
Now’s he’s set to return to the international stage with a Mexico national team with as much quality, young talent as it has had in a long, long time, led by Hiving Lozano.
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