The Pitch: Young Coaches Getting Their Shots in MLS

Major League Soccer

March 26, 2024 – Major League Soccer (MLS) News Release

This weekend’s marquee matchups include the first Copa Tejas and Cascadia Cup rivalry games of 2024, a tantalizing battle between the queen cities, and an Eastern Conference clash between Atlanta United and Chicago Fire FC on Sunday.

Charlotte FC vs. FC Cincinnati (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV): After handing the reigning MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew their first loss of 2024, Charlotte may have unlocked the “giant killer” mentality that defined the club’s inaugural 2022 season and will look to hand the unbeaten, reigning Supporters’ Shield winner FC Cincinnati their first loss the season as well.

Austin FC vs. FC Dallas (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV): Form goes out the window when it comes to rivalry games and while Dallas historically leads this rivalry with a 5-1-2 record, this Saturday could be the spark needed for Austin to secure their first win of the season.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Portland Timbers (10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV): The forwards have found their stride just in time for this rivalry game as Vancouver’s Brian White has a goal and two assists in his last two games and newcomer Jonathan Rodríguez scored in his debut for the Timbers in their last time out.

Atlanta United vs. Chicago Fire FC (3:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV / FOX): The Fire’s Hugo Cuypers is hot with two goals in his last two games. Chicago is looking to extend their unbeaten streak to three as they travel to Atlanta, where they have never won.

Major Leagues Soccer continues to foster an environment that allows some of the brightest young head coaches from around the world to compete at the top level. Minnesota United FC’s appointment of 32-year-old Eric Ramsay from Manchester United to the helm was the most recent prospective head coaching hire across the league.

Entering Matchday 7, 11 MLS head coaches are 45 years old or younger and the average age of all MLS head coaches is 47.7 years old, which is younger than each of the traditional top five European men’s soccer leagues.

Six of the last 10 Supporters’ Shield-winning head coaches were 45 years old or younger at the time of winning.

Four of the last 10 MLS Cup-winning head coaches were 45 years old or younger at the time of winning.The Philadelphia Union’s Jim Curtin, who is the second-longest tenured MLS head coach since his hire in 2014 at the age of 34, was a Supporters’ Shield winner in 2020 and Leagues Cup…

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