Bradley Proud of Both Armas and Marsch

Bob Bradley is fully onboard with the idea of Chris Armas taking over as head coach of the New York Red Bulls.

He also believes that Jesse Marsch will be a success with his bold move to Europe.

A former head coach and mentor for both men, Bradley said the time is right for the duo to take the next steps in their coaching careers.

The Bradley coaching tree has potentially usurped Bruce Arena’s as the most prestigious in all of MLS. Marsch left for RB Leipzig last week, as the former Red Bulls head coach took a post with the sister club in Germany’s Bundesliga. The corresponding move of Armas being promoted from assistant coach to fill Marsch’s role has a unique tie to Bradley, who is back in MLS and doing a tremendous job with expansion side Los Angeles FC.

Bradley coached both men with the Chicago Fire where the trio spearheaded one of the most consistent and storied runs in league history, including an MLS Cup in 1998 and two US Open Cup titles. Armas developed into a national team player and a rock in the heart of the Chicago midfield. Marsch also became a vital cog for Bradley in Chicago and later on at the now-defunct Chivas USA.

Chivas USA’s Jesse Marsch. The Kansas City Wizards defeated Club Deportivo Chivas USA 1-0 in the first leg of their Major League Soccer Western Conference Semifinal playoff series at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Andy Mead /Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)

After his playing career, Marsch spent several years as an assistant under Bradley with the national team, including the 2010 World Cup where the United States won their group. The Bronx-born Armas turned his stellar MLS career into several coaching roles as an assistant, eventually joining Marsch’s staff in 2015.

And now Bradley, Jersey-born and a former head coach of the MetroStars, thinks that Marsch made the right move in testing Europe. Bradley, of course, came back to MLS after a strong coaching career overseas. He had a successful run directing the Egyptian national team then coached in Norway, France’s Ligue 2 and finally the English Premier League.

Now, his protégé is hoping to follow a similar path across the continent.

[Dyer: Marsch Leaves Ever-Lasting Impact on Red Bulls]

“I’m so excited for Jesse,” Bradley said after LAFC training this week. “He’s done a fantastic job with Red Bull. Over the years, you could tell he was going in a great direction and had the ideas on the game that he has been able to put into place as a coach.

“I really like the fact that he has taken his ideas as a player and mixed them with things that he has taken from the game as a coach, and he has come up with his own way of doing things. It shows in his Red Bull teams and he has also earned the respect of the people at Red Bull and that, of course, has opened the door to be involved at [RB] Leipzig, which is such a good team in the Bundesliga.

“For him it’s fantastic, he’s worked so hard. You have to sometimes take some chances and some risks. That is part of it and that how you move forward as a coach is to challenge yourself. It is fantastic that Red Bull Supports him.”

The move may be high profile, but it is still a gamble. Unlike Patrick Viera’s recent move from New York City FC to Ligue 1, Marsch is moving to be an assistant coach. Marsch is wagering on himself and his ability to potentially find a head coaching/managing position elsewhere — perhaps with Red Bull’s affiliate in the Austrian league with RB Salzburg.

For Armas, the path is clearer. His familiarity with the Red Bulls’ unique system and mentality was an asset in him assuming the reigns from Marsch.

An overhaul of the Red Bulls’ organization began three years under ago with the hiring of former sporting director Ali Curtis, who brought Marsch on as head coach in what was then a massively unpopular move. But Curtis and Marsch ushered in a youth movement and a new style of play, one that transformed the franchise.

Now it is up to Armas to partner with the sharp Denis Hamlett, the sporting director, to build on the past three years that includes two Eastern Conference titles in the regular season, a Supporters’ Shield and a run to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Bradley thinks his former rough and tugged midfielder is ready for the job.

“I’m also equally proud of Chris Armas,” Bradley said. “Obviously knowing him over the years, he is a fantastic guy, a real leader and was a great player in Chicago and now this is his chance to keep things going.”

[Watch Complete Coverage of the Red Bulls-Sporting KC Match Saturday at 6:30 PM on MSG and MSG GO. Download the App for Free.]