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Orlando City denies it ‘passed’ on Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino

Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martino celebrates after defeating the Portland Timbers in the 2018 MLS Cup championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Orlando City’s coaching carousel has been a topic of debate since the club fired Adrian Heath in 2016, but one name the club denies was ever in consideration was Gerardo “Tata” Martino. 

Orlando City vice president of communications Diogo Kotscho, who has been with the club since 2015, said Orlando City was never in communication with Martino. He added Martino was never an option after the former Barcelona coach resigned as head coach of the Argentina men’s national team on July 5, 2016, and Heath was fired on July 6, 2016. 

Jason Kreis, who was fired midway through the 2018 season, was hired on July 19, 2016. 

A report from the Boston Globe’s Frank Dell’Apa on Martino’s success with Atlanta — the Five Stripes just won the MLS Cup — said, “… Atlanta was fortunate that Martino was available after Orlando City passed on him two years ago.”

Dell’Apa added, “Martino became available soon after his Argentina team lost to Chile on penalty kicks in the 2016 Copa Centenario final. Three weeks later, Orlando City named Kreis to replace Adrian Heath, leaving Martino to pitch himself to Atlanta, which was to begin MLS play in March 2017.” 

Before the MLS Cup final, Martino announced he was leaving Atlanta United after the 2018 season. He declined an option to extend his contract beyond the 2018 season. 

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