It’s official: Real Salt Lake has announced the hiring of interim head coach Pablo Mastroeni into the permanent role.
It’s a move that comes as no real surprise, with news coming from Taylor Twellman on Saturday that Mastroeni had secured the position “in principle.”
This is not Mastroeni’s first head coach gig — he was previously coach of Colorado Rapids, the club where he played 225 regular season MLS matches. He served as coach from 2014 to 2017, when he was fired by the club. In 2020, he joined Houston Dynamo as an assistant coach, then in 2021, he joined Real Salt Lake as an assistant to former RSL coach Freddy Juarez.
He was elevated to interim coach in August, just over four years after he had been fired, after Juarez left the club to join Seattle Sounders as an assistant coach.
Mastroeni managed the club in an interim capacity into a last-minute MLS playoffs appearance, where the club unexpectedly made the Western Conference final.
This is the third consecutive time the club has named an interim coach to the permanent spot, with Mike Petke succeeding Jeff Cassar in 2017, and Freddy Juarez succeeding Petke in 2019. Notably, this is the first of those that has fallen outside the purview of Dell Loy Hansen, who has yet to sell the club following his ouster from MLS in 2020. That process is ongoing.
Quotes from a club press release follow.
RSL general manager Elliot Fall
“We are thrilled to have Pablo on board, long-term. We expect success for years to come under his leadership. Pablo’s ability to build a culture and instill belief within the Club has resulted in the most tight-knit locker room seen in years. We are excited for him to instill that throughout our entire organization.”
RSL coach Mastroeni:
“I am excited to be joining Real Salt Lake on a permanent basis. I love the direction this Club is moving in and I’m looking forward to working with all the resources and opportunities we have in front of us. We will implement an electric end-to-end style of play that brings our fans into the action and further solidifies the fortress that we call home. And we will continue to be a formidable foe on the road, just as we were during the end of our 2021 season.”