In January, Jesse Marsch accepted the Red Bulls job amid intense scrutiny from the club’s supporters. He has justified sporting director Ali Curtis’ decision, however, leading New York to its second Supporters’ Shield in three years and a trip to the Eastern Conference Championship. Marsch has instituted a team-first mentality – turning the page from the club’s longstanding reliance on Designated Players – which his players quickly bought into.
Carl Robinson also had his club in the Supporters’ Shield mix, leading Whitecaps FC to its most successful MLS campaign ever – a third-place finish with 53 points. The ‘Caps finished the regular season boasting the league’s best road record and tied with Seattle Sounders FC for fewest goals allowed.