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Report: Atlanta United requests permission to interview Sounders assistant Gonzalo Pineda for head coach job

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Atlanta will hope to speak with Brian Schmetzer’s assistant

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Seattle Sounders FC Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of news breaking midday Monday that Atlanta United head coaching target Paulo Fonseca had rejected the club’s contract offer, the club is now requesting permission from the Seattle Sounders to speak with assistant coach Gonzalo Pineda about the position.

Pineda is clearly a highly regarded assistant to Brian Schmetzer as evidenced by D.C. United’s interest, but also by his proximity to a stretch of success with the Sounders that includes an MLS Cup win in 2019.

The pursuit of Pineda is a sharp contrast to the previous candidate Fonseca, an ambitious and rising European journeyman manager. Pineda, a Mexican national, has been with the Sounders as a player or coach since 2014 after a career in Liga MX that began in 2003.

I’m really curious how everyone feels about this possibility — specifically the club’s targets contrasting so differently in certain ways. On the field, Seattle hasn’t been known for the most intricate of tactical styles, but maybe that’s a feature, not a bug in this instance. Maybe he’d implement something different to what the Sounders have been doing. It certainly would not be the kind of hire that would move the needle in the media, but it could be just what Atlanta United needs.