The waters surrounding the U.S. after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup are finally starting to calm.
However, not all is calm as U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati has yet to confirm that he will not run for another term, all while most insiders call for his departure.
Yet, the most pressing question that the federation must answer is who will be at the helm when the USMNT take the pitch against Portugal next month. Here is a list of managers who could find themselves behind the bench on the Iberian Peninsula.
The guy who will be there
It would make no sense for anyone other than Tab Ramos to be at the helm next month. The catch here is whether he will carry an interim tag.
The current U-20 coach and U.S. Soccer’s youth technical director is the next in line within U.S. Soccer. Ramos already has experience with many of the younger Americans that will be looking to make it onto the team in the next five years.
Ramos comes in with some positives. He led the U-20s to a CONCACAF title and got the squad to qualify for the U-20 World Cup this summer. He is also very aware of what U.S. Soccer needs and how the federation works, thanks to having worked there for years.
He is the safe, logical choice, at least in the short term.
The MLS options
Sporting KC have won the most trophies in the U.S. since 2012. Peter Vermes’ smart but simple approach has worked magic.
If there is one thing that the national side is missing currently, it is a system of play. The Americans spent much of their time tinkering with lineups. Part of that is due to the emergence of Christian Pulisic and trying to find the best place to play the Dortmund man.
There is also a lack of a greater purpose within the team. Those are two things Vermes has established at Sporting KC.
However, Vermes may be content where he is. “It would be a humbling opportunity for sure (to manage the national team). But with that said, I love my job. I love where I’m at in the club,” Vermes said in an interview with MLS.com last month.
If not Vermes, then Tata Martino would be the next name on the list.
Martino currently leads Atlanta United, who sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta will be the first expansion club to reach the playoffs in their first season since Seattle in 2009.
Martino has plenty of international managerial experience in a tough region. He managed Paraguay from 2007-11 and Argentina from 2014-16.
In Atlanta, he has created a buzzsaw that will attack, attack some more and keep on attacking. Against Chicago, they put in four. It was six in a blizzard in Minnesota in March. Then seven goals at home against New England, but the Revs were down to nine men due to two video assistant referee (VAR) red cards.
While the Americans need to figure out their defense, some teams can get away with a brutal attack.
The international names
Perhaps he should have taken over instead of Bruce Arena, but Sam Allardyce is reported to be interested in the job.
If Allardyce can be considered anything, it is a savior for a club going down. In his career, he has brushed off relegation from the Premier League with Bolton, Sunderland and Crystal Palace.
Big Sam also has a perfect record as an international manager. He spent all of 67 days as the England manager, presiding over a 1-0 win over Slovakia. But, after allegations of malpractice, Allardyce left the post.
Now, as the Americans look to start a complete rebuild, Allardyce will likely not be the man for the job.
Laurent Blanc has also been rumored to be interested in the position. Blanc was formerly the manager of Paris-St. Germain, where he won three Ligue 1 titles.
He brings a style that focuses more on the team than the individual. However, Blanc does not have a record of creating a team and making them winners. He is more of a big name who needs to push a big team, something the Americans are not right now.
A name that has not been thrown out yet, but is worth consideration, is from another team in France. Nantes sits fifth in the league and are home to one of the most magical managers in the world — Claudio Ranieri.
Unfortunately, there is no doubt that Ranieri is happy in France, where he is starting to turn the club into the French Leicester.
The Americans are in desperate need of a turnaround, and Ranieri has proved what he can do in the last three years. The choice will likely capture the hearts of American fans who still remember Leicester’s run to the Premier League title despite 5,000-1 odds.
While it is extremely unlikely that the USMNT will get Ranieri, there is another manager who is creating his own feel-good story, but this time in England.
Little Huddersfield Town earned a promotion to the Premier League for the first time, behind manager David Wagner.
Wagner spent time as an assistant at Dortmund before moving to the head role for the small English side. At Dortmund, he learned under Jurgen Klopp and the gegenpressing revolution.
He has managed to distill that in Huddersfield, who got off to a flying start this campaign, earning Wagner Manager of the Month in August.
More positives: Wagner is the child of a German mother and American father and earned eight caps with the U.S. He is familiar with the American system and would bring the international flair with him back to the States.