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Top five coaches from the 2023 MLS season

The 2023 Major League Soccer season brought us plenty of brilliance on the touchlines from both conferences.

One first-year boss guided his team to MLS Cup glory, while others maintained their team’s presence as a top contender for trophies.

Here are the top five coaches from the 2023 MLS campaign.

Steve Cherundolo

Cherundolo keeps LAFC in the mix / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Steve Cherundolo guided LAFC to three finals and a third place finish in the Western Conference table in 2023. And while the Black and Gold didn’t take home silverware despite having three tries, all three finals were settled in close contests – they lost by one in MLS Cup, by two goals in Concacaf Champions Cup and in penalty kicks in the Campeones Cup.

Under Cherundolo’s guidance, LAFC qualified for the postseason for a second straight season while conceding just 39 goals (fourth-best in MLS) while scoring 54 goals at the other end of the field (seventh-most in MLS). One things fore sure, the Black and Gold continue to make headlines with Cherundolo at the helm.

Oscar Pareja

Pareja hopes to continue his success with Orlando / Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Oscar Pareja with Orlando City is the definition of consistency.

In his fourth season in charge of the Lions, Pareja guided the team to their fourth consecutive postseason appearance and the club’s highest-ever finish in a season in second place in the Eastern Conference table with 63 points and 18 wins, both new records.

Ben Olsen

Olsen has turned Houston Dynamo around / Roy K Miller/ISI Photos/USSF/GettyImages

What a first year in charge of Houston Dynamo for Ben Olsen.

The former DC United boss has completely changed the trajectory of the Western Conference side, as he guided them to their first postseason berth since 2017 with a fourth place finish.

Olsen also secured silverware in his first season in charge with a win over Inter Miami and Lionel Messi to bring home the 2023 US Open Cup, and his side came up just short in the Western Conference final against LAFC.

Pat Noonan

Cincinnati won their first-ever trophy with Noonan in charge / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

After taking FC Cincinnati to the playoffs for the first time in club history in 2022, many wondered how Pat Noonan would improve on an impressive first season.

Noonan silenced his critics by winning the 2023 Supporters’ Shield, the first trophy in team history, as well as being so close to reaching MLS Cup in a heartbreaking defeat to in-state rivals Columbus Crew. In year three, it will be tough to top his record-setting 2023, but who’s to say he can’t add to his already iconic status with the Orange and Blue?

Wilfried Nancy

Nancy brought Columbus their third MLS Cup / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

Before reading this, you probably already knew that Wilfried Nancy was going to take up the number one spot. It was simply impossible to award the best head coach in MLS to anyone but him.

In his first season with the Crew, he guided them to a third place finish where they would go on to win MLS Cup over previous champions LAFC after several dramatic finishes leading up to the final. The former CF Montreal boss delivered in impressive fashion, and the soccer world will be watching to see how he gets on in his second season in charge in 2024.

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