Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.
The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.
Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.
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Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.
Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.
Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).
Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).
Sigi Schmid is back in the game.
On Thursday LA Galaxy announced that Curt Onalfo had been relieved of his duties “effective immediately” and that Schmid had been hired.
The former UCLA, Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders coach is back for his second-stint with the Galaxy — he previously coached the Galaxy from 1999-2004 — as the man with more wins than any other boss in MLS history is tasked with saving LA’s season.
Schmid has won two MLS Cups, a record five U.S. Open Cups and three MLS Supporters’ Shield over his illustrious career.
LA Galaxy President Chris Klein explained the decision to bring in the experienced coach after Onalfo’s promotion form LA Galaxy II failed to work out with the MLS giants currently languishing in ninth spot in the Western Conference.
“After a great deal of evaluation and careful consideration, we believe that Sigi Schmid is the best person to coach our team for the remainder of this season and into the future,” Klein said. “Sigi is one of the most experienced coaches in the history of soccer in the United States and he is an extremely successful manager that has proven himself to be a winner within Major League Soccer. Sigi has been one of the best coaches the history of our league and we have full confidence in him to lead our team moving forward. Our goal remains to win trophies and be the best club in North America and we believe that Sigi gives us the best opportunity to achieve this. Curt Onalfo has been a loyal servant to the Galaxy and Galaxy II for a number of seasons and we wish him well.”
From the start Onalfo was on a hiding to nothing with Bruce Arena departing for the U.S. national team last season and Onalfo tasked with an almighty rebuild following his great work with bringing through youngsters at LA Galaxy II.
Schmid knows the league inside out and his main aim will be to rally a talented group of Galaxy players to one of their famed second half of the season surges as they search for another MLS Cup to add to their record haul of five.
With LA in ninth spot in the West they are only three points off the bottom of the standings but are also just five points from the final playoff spot.
For so long Schmid plotted LA’s downfall as head coach of the Seattle Sounders from 2009-16, but now he’s back in LA and as fate would have it his first game back in charge of the Galaxy is against… the Sounders this Saturday at StubHub Center.
The underachieving Seattle Sounders have cost their legendary coach his job.
Sigi Schmid and the Sounders have agreed to part ways, the team announced on Tuesday, ending an eight-year run as the only coach in franchise’s MLS history.
Schmid, 63, is one of the most decorated coaches in MLS history, and has four U.S. Open Cup titles with Seattle after a pair of MLS Cup wins between Columbus and Los Angeles.
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He also won three College Cup titles at UCLA between 1980-99.
Here’s Schmid, from SoundersFC.com:
“I want to thank Seattle Sounders FC for the opportunity to lead this club over the past eight years, with particular gratitude to Adrian Hanauer, Joe Roth and the rest of the club’s ownership group. I’d also like to thank my coaches and technical staff for the support they’ve given me, and most importantly I want to thank my players for their tremendous effort throughout the years,” Schmid said.
“I’m proud of the success we’ve achieved in winning five major trophies in Seattle, qualifying for the postseason for seven-straight seasons. My only disappointment is that we were unable to bring home an MLS Cup to our tremendous fans, who have always been supportive through good times and bad. In closing, I want to thank the Sounders FC organization, the club’s fans and the city of Seattle for this amazing run.”
Longtime assistant Brian Schmetzer takes over in the interim, tasked with finding a way to improve on the uninspiring Sounders’ 6-12-2 record.
The Sounders are 10 points out of the final playoff spot and haven’t won since June 22 (2L-4T). They’ve scored the third-fewest goals in MLS. Without knowing what’s going on behind the scenes, the players’ performances over the last few weeks raised serious character concerns. Hopefully a coaching change somehow eases those, as it did for Chelsea.
The game in 100 words (or less): It would appear, based on the optics of the Seattle Sounders’ 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sporting Kansas City, a result that sees Sigi Schmid’s side fall 10 points adrift of the Western Conference playoff places, that the legendary coach’s time in the Emerald City has run out. It wasn’t the final score, or the fact that the Sounders were out-shot 18-1 on the afternoon, but the manner in which they arrived at those embarrassing figures — essentially giving up and waving the white flag over the game’s final 30 minutes — that sends a message loudly and clearly to Sounders’ front office: we aren’t playing for this guy anymore. Here’s the problem for Seattle, though: Jason Kreis, the presumptive Sigi replacement with an eye toward reuniting with Garth Lagerwey, was announced as Orlando City SC’s new head coach on Tuesday. Nothing would make the Sounders look more unprepared than firing Schmid five days after the best available MLS coach was plucked off the market.
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Three moments that mattered
21′ — Dwyer heads home from Espinoza’s cross for 1-0 — Defending optional for Seattle, as everyone in and around the penalty area did very little to close down or mark anyone in white.
45+3′ — Peterson goes upper-90 for 2-0 — First-time hit, upper-90. Jacob Peterson makes it 2-0.
79′ — Dwyer makes it 3-0 after Sounders all but quit — Questionable “effort” from the Sounders, to be sure.
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Man of the match: Dom Dwyer
Goalscorers: Dwyer (21′, 79′), Peterson (45+3′)
Jason Kreis has coached an MLS team for just 10 of the 31 most recent months of his life after leaving Real Salt Lake at the end of 2013, taking the following year “off” ahead of New York City FC’s MLS debut in 2015, only to be fired after one season.
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You couldn’t blame the 43-year-old if he were really itching to get back into the game. Now, Kreis won’t jump at just any job — sorry, Houston Dynamo, he’s going to ignore your calls if you try — but he’s also, according to a report from FourFourTwo USA, not about to sit around and wait for the Seattle Sounders to fire Sigi Schmid in order to reunite with Garth Lagerwey (that’s purely speculation, and a bit of logic).
According to the report, Kreis is in “advanced discussions” to fill Orlando City SC’s head-coaching vacancy following the dismissal of Adrian Heath, the only head coach in the team’s history (USL and MLS), less than two weeks ago.
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Kreis is inarguably the marquee name as far as unemployed MLS head coaches go, meaning he’s likely to have his pick of available jobs as the 2016 season winds down and another offseason approaches. With the Sounders currently floundering in ninth place in the Western Conference, Schmid’s seat grows hotter and hotter with each passing defeat (the latest on Sunday, to the rival Portland Timbers).
Considering the Sounders’ willingness to spend big money for big names, plus perhaps the largest fanbase in MLS, the Emerald City job seems, on paper at least, the most attractive gig likely to come open ahead of the 2017 season. If Kreis is scooped up from the unemployment line now, ahead of the Sounders’ own timeline for improvement or Schmid’s removal, it’ll be an opportunity missed to snag one of the brightest young minds in American soccer.