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Atlanta United finalizing deal for Gonzalo Pineda

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Sounders assistant will is set to join Atlanta on a three-year contract.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

UPDATE (Wednesday): It looks like it’s a done deal, with Gonzalo Pineda signing a three-year deal to join Atlanta United immediately. An official announcement is expected by Thursday.

UPDATE: Atlanta United isn’t showing much of their hand but all indications are that they are looking to make a hire midseason, rather than seeing how the year plays out.


There is no denying that Gonzalo Pineda is one of the most acclaimed assistant coaches in Major League Soccer, having interviewed for the D.C. United head coach position as well as drawing interest from clubs in Liga MX.

Now, after four years of being a crucial component to a Sounders staff that has reached three MLS Cup finals, won a league title and just recently had the best start in franchise history, that well-deserved spotlight has turned into a potential job as Atlanta United’s head coach. Several sources have told me that there are negotiations at this time between all parties involved that would ultimately send Pineda to Atlanta within a month.

There does not seem to be anything finalized but with all the information gathered, it is very likely that we will soon see the beloved coach saying goodbye to the organization that he was not only able to play for but also helped him develop as a coach.

Even though it initially appeared his services would not be demanded this season, new information brewing this week indicates Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanegra want Pineda to take charge as soon as possible. This would be a significant blow to the Rave Green, because of the tremendous work Gonzalo provides in day-to-day operations, whether on the training pitch, film room or making sure Spanish-speaking players get that one-on-one time during daily sessions.

That said, president of soccer and general manager Garth Lagerwey said last week that he would be happy for Pineda if he was offered a promotion opportunity with Atlanta.

Pineda brings so many attributes to the table, it is not a surprise for anyone following him up close that he is a top candidate for the job, with a 13-year playing career in which he was a great student of the game. He is hands-on at training, usually giving guidance with a ball on his feet and inside the field, and his passion radiates on the players.

“When I hear that type of thing, I couldn’t help but personally be happy because I know the type of person he is, his quality and capacity as a coach,” Sounders captain Nicolas Lodeiro said when asked about Atlanta United seeking permission to interview the assistant.

“Working for a team like Atlanta, a franchise that’s important, it is a wonderful thing because Gonzo’s work is very good. So if Atlanta asked permission, wants to approach him is because he deserves it and he has earned it.”

Not to mention that although he has always gravitated toward the film room and the tactical aspects of soccer, he has put a great deal of effort into getting every accreditation necessary and developing tools at his disposal to be at one point a successful head coach. The real question is how an Atlanta team that seems to be uplifting within their own ashes to play better and get results lately, will welcome the thought of having a new man in charge, which would mean once again starting from scratch.