The coaching search is headed to the final round with interesting names popping up and a big name reportedly dropping off the list. The biggest name, Crew legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto isn't a finalist for the job.
Who is left on the list? The first name is Brian Bliss. He's been consistently named a finalist for the position. He led the team to a 4-4-0 record in his tenure as interim coach and the mood in the locker room improved remarkably during his time at the helm.
There is another name that apparently made the final cut. Former Hammarby coach Gregg Berhalter is another reported finalist whose stock has been rising according to a note from Wahl yesterday. None of the other finalists have been named, but earlier Brad Friedel, Richie Williams, and Jesse Marsch were among the candidates identified. None of them have been excluded yet.
Dropping Schelotto from the final group is surprising, but there was always a specific concern with his candidacy. Schelotto command of English may have proved to be too much of a barrier for Mark McCullers and Anthony Precourt to ignore. Schelotto's command of English improved during his time in Columbus, but he was never as fluent as Robert Warzycha's. The other hurdle may have been financial. Schelotto is under contract with Lanus through July 2014 and a buyout may have proved too much to overcome.
The team is supposedly ready for the final round and expects to decide on a coach within two weeks. The new coach will have to quickly get up to speed as a critical off season for the future of the Crew starts. Fans are restless for improvement after two straight years of playoff-less soccer. They'll expect immediate results for a team that has lacked an identity for the past couple years.