Gonzalo Pineda has quietly been putting together an impressive coaching resume. Since retiring as a player following the 2015 season — a career that included a decade in Liga MX, two seasons with the Seattle Sounders and a spot on Mexico’s 2006 World Cup roster — Pineda first took a job as an analyst with Univision. A year later he accepted an assistant job on Brian Schmetzer’s staff where he’s established himself as one of the team’s key tacticians.
Almost ever since he joined the Sounders coaching staff, his name has circulated as a potential candidate for for head positions in Mexico. That’s especially true whenever there’s upheaval at Pumas UNAM, the Mexico City club where Pineda got his professional start.
When Michel Gonzalez unexpectedly stepped down shortly before the start of the Liga MX season, Pineda was reportedly one of the first people Pumas contacted about the position. It’s unclear how serious that communication may have been, but it now appears Pumas have decided to forge ahead with interim coach Andres Lillini for the remainder of the season. Pumas have started out 2-0-1.
Gonzalo Pineda has been mentioned as a candidate to take over Pumas head coaching position. As far as I've been able to find out, although Gonzo is an extremely qualified candidate, there is no concern from #Sounders of him leaving this season or knowledge of any official offers. pic.twitter.com/cAqmdVjSLx— Niko Moreno (@ELROLONW) August 11, 2020
Pineda is still just 37, which is younger than every current head coach in MLS. He has plenty of time to be patient and wait for the right job, which might not be a team reportedly worried about payroll as Pumas reportedly are. While the Sounders may feel secure in keeping Pineda for now, there’s every reason to expect his name to continue being mentioned prominently for positions like this one. No one should be in any rush to push Schmetzer aside — it’s hard to imagine anyone having more success in their first four seasons than he has — but it would be a shame to lose someone like Pineda. Hopefully, the Sounders are making it clear he has a future here.