Editorial (July 27, 2017) – For those of you living under a rock, the LA Galaxy have fired Head Coach Curt Onalfo, effective immediately. Former Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid has been hired. While this solves a number of issues for the Galaxy, hiring Scmid will not fix everthing.
Hiring Sigi Schmid Will Not Fix Everything For LA Galaxy
What Sigi Can Fix:
Regain The Locker Room: In the immediate future, Schmid brings veteran coaching experience and stability to the locker room. There have been rumblings that Onalfo was losing or had lost the locker room. Schmid has two MLS Cup rings; he’ll walk right in and get the immediate respect and attention from the players. He coached Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins in Seattle. Giovani dos Santos and company will take him seriously, unlike Onalfo.
Fix The Defense: On a conference call earlier today, Scmid was asked about the current state of the team. He said “the big issue has been goals allowed. This team has offensive talent. Defensively, theres’ talent there as well. We need to solidyf ourselves defensive and give our offensive a chance to show what it can do.”
Onalfo was unable to get the defensive system to work. The Galaxy gave up the first goal of the match more often than not and has been torn apart on counter attacks. Onalfo created a goalkeeper competition that complicated things early in the season. He had trouble reigning in Jelle Van Damme and Jermaine Jones at times. He wasn’t able to get his LA Galaxy II players to adjust quickly to MLS.
Defense was often the Achilles’ Heel of Schmid’s Sounders team. But they were never a terrible defensive team. He’s tactically more estute than Onalfo. If he can’t stop the bleeding at the back, no one can.
Youth Playing Up To MLS Standards: Yes, Curt Onalfo knew the Galaxy Academy and the Los Dos roster backwards and forwards. If anyone was going to be close enough to the younger players to believe in them and help them succeed, it would be Onalfo. That hasn’t worked out. While Schmid has always tried to build a winner, like Bruce Arena, but he focused on playing the kids and developing them more than Arena. If anyone can marry the ‘be competative with big money DPs but also gives some of the kids a chance,’ it’s Schmid.
Making The Playoffs: The Galaxy need to make the playoffs in 2017. While it shouldn’t be everything, optics matter in the Los Angeles sports market. You can’t miss the playoffs the year before a big money competitor is coming in, especially when they’re going to have a better stadium, stadium location, and big money star players. Chris Klein said this decision was mostly results based: “At this club, we understand that results are a big part of this business,” adding “we feel that it’s the best for our club right now.”
That said, I still have my doubts about Schmid winning once he gets to the playoffs.
What Sigi Cannot Fix:
2017 Roster Construction: Since Arena’s departure, the Galaxy Front Office has botched multiple roster decisions. There’s the A.J. DeLaGarza trade that has caused problems at right back. They gave Jermaine Jones a raise after he was injured for much of the 2016 season. They waited to replace Robbie Rogers with a reliable right back until recently. The club just signed Jonathan dos Santos as a DP instead of addressing their issues at forward.
Schmid will probably be involved in transfer window/roster decisions starting immediately. But it’s going to take an entire off-season at least to get out of this hole the General Manager Peter Vagenas has dug.
The Giant Zizinho In The Room: Zizinho is the father of both dos Santos brothers. He and his sons have a track record of being difficult to work when together. They have a bad history of cooporation with the Mexican National Team. With both of them on the same club now as DPs, they’ll have a lot of power. Schmid might be able to work with them.
The Galaxy have also been after both players in some capacity for years now. Maybe they’ve developed a healthy relationship with Zizinho and company. But if Jonathan is coming in here with the expectations that the Galaxy are now their family business, I don’t see how Scmid resolves that power struggle peacefully.