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RSL fired Jeff Cassar: What just happened?

MLS: Sporting KC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake management has fired coach Jeff Cassar after a truly bad run of form for the club, and it’s the first time the club has fired a head coach since dismissing John Ellinger in early 2007.

Cassar, 43, joined Real Salt Lake as a goalkeeper coach in 2007 under then-coach Jason Kreis. He served in that role until Kreis, now at Orlando City SC as coach, left for big-money side New York City FC following the 2013 campaign.

In his first and third years at the club, 2014 and 2016, respectively, Cassar and RSL made the playoffs. Both times, the club lost in devastating fashion to LA Galaxy, who walked all over the Utah side. It wasn’t ever close.

It appears that, again, LA Galaxy are playing a big role in Cassar’s managerial career. The club’s worst losses in Cassar’s tenure have come at their hands, and now, another loss has damned Cassar’s future at the club.

Cassar’s brightest moment certainly came in 2016, when the club faced Liga MX standouts Tigres UANL in a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. Though the club didn’t make it out of that stage, they looked like genuine contenders.

But for all the good things that came in 2016’s start, it also proved one of the most dismal years for the club since making it out of the expansion doldrums in 2008 or 2009 — a run of losses and draws to end the season, a key player leaving the club in Javier Morales, a designated player’s contract being gracefully terminated in Juan Manuel Martinez.

We’ll see what happens next for Real Salt Lake. These are unprecedented times, simply because — for our woes right now — we are stable. In 2007, when Ellinger was dismissed, we were on rocky ground.

What’s next, then? Daryl Shore is interim coach, and we’re looking for a new head coach. Could it be Shore himself? Will it be Petke? Could it instead be a figure we haven’t heard in a few years, like Robin Fraser, who was in the running for the job Cassar got in the end?

We’ll be anxiously awaiting the results of this one.