Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber may have accidentally revealed one of international soccer's worst-kept secrets by discussing rumors linking Gerardo 'Tata' Martino to the Mexican national team.
Atlanta is preparing to face the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals as Martino prepares to leave the club after announcing that he would depart at the conclusion of the season before the playoffs kicked off.
The former Barcelona and Argentina manager has been widely linked with the Mexico job, and Garber discussed that potential move while also speaking on the U.S. national team's ongoing coaching search.
"Good for the FMF. I’m very close friends with Enrique (Bonilla) and Yon de Luisa, and they were bold and they made a very aggressive move to get Tata who, by the way, before he came to MLS might not have been on the radar screen for the Mexican national team," Garber said after serving on a panel alongside FMF leadership at SoccerEx in Miami.
"So what does that say about success in Major League Soccer, something that we’ve been working hard to try and raise the profile of our league and what it can do to develop players and technical staff?
"U.S. Soccer is in the midst of finalizing their decision on a U.S. national team coach. I’m sure he’ll be great. It’s possible he could be coming from Major League Soccer. So I think both federations end up with two great coaches, and that’s what it’s all about."
MLS commissioner Don Garber discusses (and inadvertently confirms) Tata Martino's move to the Mexican national team. Also note the smile on his face when he says the next #USMNT "could" also be from #MLS . #ElTriEng #SoccerexUSA pic.twitter.com/SP0ELglmgm— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) November 15, 2018
Mexico has been without a manger since Juan Carlos Osorio's departure in the wake of this summer's round of 16 run at the World Cup.
Ricardo 'Tuca' Ferretti has taken charge on an interim basis while a number of coaches have been linked with the permanent gig.
Martino appears the favorite, and Garber is disappointed to see the Argentine leave the league although he insisted the Atlanta United's boss' departure isn't a step back for MLS.
"I feel about coaches the way I feel about players. I want the best players and coaches in our league," he said.
"Tata has been a gift. He has brought a level of respect and credibility to our league through what he has done with Atlanta United that shows that we can be a league of choice.
"But coaches come and go like players come and go.
"I love Tata, I wish him well. I was disappointed, in many ways heartbroken when they weren’t able to re-sign him. It wasn’t about anything other than he is ready for a new challenge."