DC United General Manager Ally Mackay has checked off the number one item on his DC United off-season to-do list as he has hired the team’s new head coach. Mackay and Troy Lesesne have agreed to a three-year guaranteed contract for him to be the new Head Coach for DC United.
Troy Lesesne is a bit of a surprise hire as he wasn’t even an available candidate when United’s Head Coaching position first opened up. At that point Lesesne was still the Head Coach for the New York Red Bulls. He had been named interim Head Coach of the Red Bulls on May 8, 2023 when he replaced Gerhard Struber.
Lesesne had been a Head Coach of New Mexico United prior to being hired as an Assistant Coach for the New York Red Bulls in January 2022. The former USL Championship co-coach of the year in 2020 took over a team that was beginning to spiral. His first job as Head Coach was to steady the team, and rebuild a broken locker room. His promotion was in large part because he was so well-regarded by Red Bull’s players.
While success on the field wasn’t overwhelming, Lesesne was able to guide the Red Bulls into the eighth playoff spot, earning them the right to host the MLS Wildcard game. The Red Bulls won the Wildcard game and then played a best of three round of games against Supporters Shield winners, FC Cincinnati. They were swept out of the playoffs by Cincinnati, but played tough, and were not an easy out. It was therefore a bit of a surprise that Lesesne was not given the opportunity to continue what he started.
Other finalists for DC United’s Head Coaching position were former NYCFC Head Coach Dome Torrent and former El Salvador national team Head Coach Hugo Pérez. Each had their strengths and weaknesses, so it will be interesting to learn why Lesesne became the favorite to be selected.
The hiring of Lesesne is the biggest decision that Ally Mackay has had to make so far as the new General Manager and Chief Soccer Officer for DC United. It will be the biggest determining factor of how successful he will be in returning DC United to relevance in MLS. In the end both Troy Lesesne and Ally Mackay will be judged by the results on the field.