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Real Salt Lake head coach Freddy Juarez departs club, reportedly for Seattle Sounders

Real Salt Lake head coach Freddy Juarez pats Damir Kreilach (8) on the back in the final minutes of the team’s loss to Colorado Rapids during an MLS soccer match Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Commerce City, Colo. (AP Photo/ Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey, Associated Press

Real Salt Lake is now in need of a new head coach in addition to a new owner.

On Friday morning, Brian Dunseth first reported, and the club later announced, that Freddy Juarez has departed the team. The club said Juarez was leaving for “a new opportunity,” and The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal — a former RSL employee — reported that Juarez will be an assistant coach on the Seattle Sounders’ staff.

Pablo Mastroeni, a former USMNT player who joined RSL’s staff this season after stints as head coach of the Colorado Rapids and as an assistant with the Houston Dynamo, has been named interim head coach.

RSL said in its announcement that it “has immediately begun its search for the club’s new head coach” despite the fact that an owner is not in place.

In 2019, Juarez became the interim coach when Mike Petke was fired after he had directed homophobic language toward a game official, and Juarez had the interim tag removed in 2020.

The team currently sits sixth in the Western Conference table. The top seven teams make the playoffs, but there has been growing chatter that RSL would look for a new coach after the conclusion of this season.

Juarez has been with the RSL organization since 2010. He started as head coach of the RSL Academy, then became head coach of the Real Monarchs in 2015. He became an assistant with the top club in 2017.