The first coaching casualty of the 2017 Major League Soccer season is Jeff Cassar.
Real Salt Lake decided to part ways with Cassar, the club announced early Monday evening. The move comes with RSL winless through its first three games of this year’s campaign. Cassar spent the previous three seasons as the club’s manager.
Goalkeeper coach Daryl Shore will take over on an interim basis.
Real Salt Lake Sacks Manager Jeff Cassar
“At the conclusion of last season, we felt that while we were disappointed in the end result, Jeff had done enough to earn another shot to lead the team in the 2017 campaign,” general manager Craig Waibel stated in the team’s release announcing the move. “We have a high sense of urgency for progress this season, and have made many offseason changes towards that endeavor. So, while these decisions are always difficult, we, as an organization, felt that it was necessary to make the change in our head coaching position now.”
The 43-year-old took over ahead of the 2014 season after long-time manager Jason Kreis left for New York City FC. Prior to that, he served as an assistant under Kreis during all seven seasons of his tenure as coach.
Cassar’s first season in charge saw the team finish with a 15-8-11 record, good enough for third in the Western Conference. The Claret and Cobalt fell to the LA Galaxy in the conference semifinals of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
A year later, the team took a step back. RSL missed the postseason altogether, the first time they failed to do so since the 2007 season. Inability to find the net proved to be their undoing, as the club’s 38 goals scored was the second worst total in the league.
In 2016, RSL returned to the postseason but snuck in as the sixth placed club in the West. Once again, they faced the Galaxy although this time the matchup took place in the knockout round. LA prevailed in the one-off game, 3-1.
Cassar’s tenure in Salt Lake City ends with his overall record across all competitions at 45 wins, 43 losses and 33 draws.
RSL are one of six MLS teams in action this weekend, traveling east to face the New York Red Bulls. Kickoff is set for 4 PM Eastern Time with the game being televised nationally on UniMas.