Major League Soccer

Real Salt Lake nearing head coach decision with Pablo Mastroeni among candidates

Lizzy Becherano
interim coach Pablo Mastroeni could be a permanent solution for RSL
interim coach Pablo Mastroeni could be a permanent solution for RSL / Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall has revealed the team is close to selecting their new head coach after former boss Freddy Juarez was relieved of his duties on August 27.

Current interim manager Pablo Mastroeni is among those in consideration for the full-time position. 

“We’ve spent an insane number of hours on it over the last month, month and a half," Fall told ESPN 700 host Spence Checketts.

"It’s been a really exhaustive process. We’ve tried to be really diligent about being deliberate. Going through, asking the right questions, getting the right people, having conversations with all the right people — we had an initial round of interviews with well over a dozen people. We’ve narrowed that list down to finalists are in the process of doing those final round of interviews, and also scheduling some of the final round of interviews.

"We’re trying to make the right decision, and the best decision for this club in the long-term. I guess the update is, we are well along the process. We’ve had a lot of great conversations, and I expect we’ll have some more great conversations. Then we’re going to have make a decision, what’s best both short-term and long-term for the club.”

Fall revealed Mastroeni is among those being considered as the permanent solution to the club’s head coach search. 

Mastroeni joined the club in early 2021as assistant coach before stepping in as leader after Juarez departed Real Salt Lake to assist the Seattle Sounders. Since taking over, he’s managed a record of 4-4-0. The club stands in fifth place of the Western Conference table with 39 points in 28 games, maintaining a competitive MLS Cup playoff position. 

"Absolutely. Pablo’s a leader," Fall said of Mastroeni's prospects. "He’s an honest, genuine leader. He’s passionate. He loves the group, he loves the players, he loves to lead them, and I think he’s really having a lot of fun. I also think it’s important to note, the way things go week-in and week-out aren’t the only things in the conversation. Look, in the last week, we’ve had both sides of it, obviously. We’ve had tough results and great results.

Mastroeni has a lot of experience / Shaun Clark/Getty Images

"It’s important we don’t ride that rollercoaster in the decision-making process. It’s important we be pragmatic and analytical about each part of it. I would also say, Pablo hasn’t had the opportunity of having a preseason and really putting his stamp on the group. I think what we’re seeing right now is a bit of what Pablo believes in and the leader Pablo is, but it’s not the full Pablo Mastroeni. That’s the only thing I’d say to the fanbase to keep in mind — there’s more to it than just the last seven or eight games."

Mastroeni has extensive coaching experience, serving as Colorado Rapids boss from 2014 to 2017. In 2016, he inspired the club to a Western Conference Championship. 

With only six regular-season matches remaining, RSL are likely to employ the new permanent head coach by next MLS campaign.