MLS Analysis

Marsch takes Canada, American MLS youth round-up, & Wednesday preview

ASN's Brian Sciaretta opens up his notebook with his thoughts on Jesse Marsch as he becomes what is officially the MLS Canada Men’s National Team Head Coach. Plus an MLS American Youth round-up, and a lookahead to Wednesday night's games. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
May 15, 2024
2:55 PM

ON THE DOMESTIC FRONT, there is a lot to break down. From our regular youth report to a week with midweek games, to a number of teams in a bad place, we have a lot of ground to cover ahead of the games on Wednesday.

But let’s start north of the border.


Marsch takes Canada


Jesse Marsch has been hired as the head coach of Canada’s men’s national team. It’s a huge hire and one that will boost some excitement into the program. Marsch will now have a big opportunity at the Copa America and the World Cup. But as an American who has coached in MLS and in Europe and then done commentary work in the media, many American fans have talked about him as potential candidate to be a USMNT manager in the future (for some fans it’s the near future).

The USMNT and the CanMNT haven’t ever really been rivals. But this could start to create one.  

But what does the hiring of an American manager for a foreign national team have to do for a column about domestic soccer?


Many have seen this now, but this statement was included at the end of the press release.

“The appointment of Marsch is assisted by major philanthropic contributions from the owners of the three Canadian-based MLS clubs – Vancouver Whitecaps, Joey Saputo, and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – and supplemented by other private donors. In recognition of their significant philanthropic support, Marsch’s position will be formally titled as the MLS Canada Men’s National Team Head Coach during the term of his initial contract.”

First, it reflects the shallow pockets of Canadian’s federation. This has been the case for some time, but it’s particularly troublesome considering that Canada will be playing in two major tournaments in the coming years and there are several very good Canadian players. The national team is not deep, but it has some great players.

Does it create a conflict of interests? Perhaps. But for Canada, deals need to get done. It’s better to get it done ugly than not get done at all. It’s good that the owners of the three Canadian MLS teams stepped to the plate, but it isn’t good that they had to do so.

Second, the irony of Joey Saputo helping to pay Marsch’s salary is also interesting given that Marsch’s first head coaching job was with Montreal. It just didn’t work out and the relationship fell apart. Marsch immediately left for the Red Bulls job and the rest was history.

Canada needed to do something, and they did. It’s a smart hire for them. It’s a big job for Marsch to get this team to play up to its potential. But it’s going to make Canada more interesting and potentially more competitive.


American youth report


The highlights over the weekend actually came from two U-20 eligible players.

Obed Vargas: Picked up a nice assist for Seattle in a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy. Over the last month, he’s been on the upswing and is a key contributor for the Sounders. He’s been around for awhile now and people remember him winning and assisting the CONCACAF Champions League final in 2022. It’s hard to believe he is still U-20 eligible for 2025.

Benja Cremaschi: The Inter Miami homegrown scored in a 3-2 win away at Montreal. Lost in this, however, is that he did a lot more than just score the winning goal, he had a good solid appearance in every metric. Playing with Messi & Co. will help anyone look better. But Cremaschi is going places and is back on track.


Down to the U-23 players, there were some notes.

Duncan McGuire: opened the scoring for Orlando in a big 3-2 win over Philadelphia. It was his fifth goal of the season and his sixth across all competitions. He continues to show no signs of a “sophomore slump” and heads into a summer where he could be sold around the time he leaves for the Olympics. For Orlando, it was very positive to see McGuire and Luis Murriel both play well together on the field at the same time.


Nathian Harriel and Jack McGlynn: The two Olympic hopefuls both played well for Philadelphia, despite the loss. Philadelphia was a bit unlucky in this game as they outplayed Orlando but still lost. This performance would typically result in a Union win. But what is a big takeaway is that the offense really runs through McGlynn these days. He’s taken some impressive steps since the 2023 season. Meanwhile, Harriel is also improving to the point where he is consistently good. He even had an assist in this game.

Daniel Edelman has a big job the remainder of this season with the long-term injury to Peter Stroud. He was very good as the No. 6 against the New England Revolution in a 4-2 win. His chemistry with Frankie Amaya is improving with the pair combining for over 23 passes into the final third together.

Edelman is on the outside of the Olympic picture looking in, but if there are any injuries or if thre are release issues, he could sneak into the mix.


Looking ahead to Wednesday night


The games over the weekend set up some important storylines for the Wednesday games.

Let’s look at the struggling teams.

First, Atlanta visits Cincinnati on Wednesday. Atlanta has lost three home games in a row, has a ton of talent, and is underperforming massively in 10th place. This is from a team I picked to finish atop the East in the regular season. Gonzalo Pineda could very well be on the hot seat with a loss. Atlanta has so much talent that they can’t afford to be subpar.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Kevin Kelsy, 19, really impressed over the weekend with his game winner against Columbus.  If Cincinnati has someone who can replace Brandon Vazquez, they can win the title. They have a better defense than last year and now they can replace the lost No. 9.


Columbus has one eye on Pachuca, but they’re winless in six games. Can they build momentum heading into the CONCACAF final in Wednesday’s visit to Montreal? Wilfried Nancy is perhaps the best coach in MLS right now, but is he going to suffer the same fate as other MLS teams who advance to the CONCACAF final and handle MLS play well?

Portland hosts San Jose in a matchup between the worst teams in the West. Portland has sunk into last, they have seven points from nine games, and are hosting San Jose. If Portland can’t win this game, you have to ask who they can beat? Phil Neville has pressure to win this.

Meanwhile in the East, Chicago might not be in last place but its hard to think it could be any worse. Head coach Frankie Klopas can’t bear all the blame here. The roster just isn’t put together well. This team has been shutout in three straight home games, and they host Charlotte tonight. Four home games without a goal paints a bleak picture.

Another curious game I am looking forward to watching is Philadelphia vs. NYCFC. The Union have lost three games in a row and should be better than they are. The good news is that they actually played well Saturday in the loss to Orlando but were a bit unlucky. But there is some pressure to win this game vs. NYCFC. Nick Cushing’s squad have won four of five and are playing well. This also could be a trap game with a home game vs. RBNY. Jim Curtin has publicly said the recent results are unacceptable. Knowing Philly, they should figure it out, but this will be a big test.

Lionel Messi is questionable, but Inter Miami should be the favorite at home vs. Orlando City. I am looking forward to seeing if Orlando’s win over Philly on Saturday was the start of an upward trend, or was it a flash in the pan. For Orlando, the test is getting Luis Muriel and Duncan McGuire to play well together.

The Red Bulls visiting DC United is an important test. RBNY has been let down by central defenders and now they have to stop Christian Benteke, who scored a hat trick vs. Atlanta on Saturday. There is also the intrigue that this will give DC United’s Troy Lesesne a chance to face his former club who he coached last year and did well.


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