Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino was voted as the MLS Coach of the Year in results released by the league Tuesday.
Martino, 55, received an average of 33 percent of first-place votes from the media, players and clubs to edge LAFC’s Bob Bradley (22 percent) and Sporting KC’s Peter Vermes (11 percent).
Under Martino, Atlanta United has become one of the more exciting clubs in MLS. It led the league in goals scored (70; the first team to reach that plateau in consecutive seasons) and broke a league record for road wins (21) and road points (32).
Atlanta United finished the regular season with 69 points, tied for the second-most in league history. That total helped the Five Stripes clinch a spot in next year’s CONCACAF Champions League. Martino will not coach the team in the tournament, having decided not to exercise the option on his contract past this season.
Though Atlanta United failed to win the Supporters’ Shield after a dispiriting loss in season’s final regular-season game, Martino has led the club to Eastern Conference finals, where it will play New York Red Bulls.
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Throughout the regular season, Martino displayed the tactical acumen developed as a player at Newell’s Old Boy and manager at many clubs, notably Barcelona and Argentina’s national team. The team could play the aggressive press it used last season from a 4-2-3-1 formation, or as a counter-attacking team from a 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 formation.
Martino also helped Atlanta United overcome numerous injuries throughout the season. At one point, the team was down to what would be considered its fifth-string left fullback in a game, yet still won.
Martino was also blessed with a talented roster that featured two MLS Best XI players in Josef Martinez, who set the league single-season scoring record with 31 goals, and Miguel Almiron, who scored 12 goals and 14 assists, as well as Michael Parkhurst and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who finished third and fourth in Defender of the Year voting, and Brad Guzan, who finished fifth in Goalkeeper of the Year voting.
Though not active on social media and rarely seen out in Atlanta, Martino is beloved by Atlanta United supporters for his sense of humor in news conferences, fashion (the black sweater hanging over his shoulders, over a red shirt), and his fatherly style with his players. In winning the Golden Boot, Martinez said that Martino is much more than just his manager. Martinez said that he and other players talk to Martino about things other than soccer.
The supporters honored him before last week’s 3-1 win against NYCFC in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a tifo bearing his likeness.
“I’m very thankful for all the affection that the fans have showed me over these two years,” he said. “It makes me very happy. I’ve been very involved with everything Atlanta United – with the players, the fans. It’s a beautiful acknowledgement that the Atlanta fans have shown me.”
Coach of the Year, Player Vote, Club Vote, Media Vote, Final percent
Gerardo "Tata" Martino (ATL), 46.92, 29.91, 21.32, 32.72
Bob Bradley (LAFC), 20.53, 14.95, 31.53, 22.34
Peter Vermes (SKC), 6.16, 15.89, 10.81, 10.95
Jim Curtin (PHI), 3.81, 13.08, 7.51, 8.13
Chris Armas (NY), 5.87, 3.74, 13.81, 7.81
Note: Numerals represent percentages.
MLS Coach of the Year Winners:
2018: Gerardo “Tata” Martino, Atlanta United
2017: Greg Vanney, Toronto FC
2016: Oscar Pareja, FC Dallas
2015: Jesse Marsch, New York Red Bulls
2014: Ben Olsen, D.C. United
2013: Caleb Porter, Portland Timbers
2012: Frank Yallop, San Jose Earthquakes
2011: Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy
2010: Schellas Hyndman, FC Dallas
2009: Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy
2008: Sigi Schmid, Columbus Crew SC
2007: Preki, Chivas USA
2006: Bob Bradley, Chivas USA
2005: Dominic Kinnear, San Jose Earthquakes
2004: Greg Andrulis, Columbus Crew SC
2003: Dave Sarachan, Chicago Fire
2002: Steve Nicol, New England Revolution
2001: Frank Yallop, San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Bob Gansler, Kansas City Wizards
1999: Sigi Schmid, LA Galaxy
1998: Bob Bradley, Chicago Fire
1997: Bruce Arena, D.C. United
1996: Thomas Rongen, Tampa Bay Mutiny