As is the case in most American sports leagues, Los Angeles is about to become a two team town in Major League Soccer. Los Angeles FC, aka LAFC, is set to join MLS next season and the new club hopes to infringe on some of the turf that the LA Galaxy have spent more than 20 years growing. An easy way for LAFC to do that would be to have a bad Galaxy team, playing in Carson, with casual fans fleeing the bandwagon looking for greener pastures. And that Galaxy bandwagon has begun to catch fire and careen towards the edge of the cliff. Something had to be done.
While everybody involved hoped for the best, when Bruce Arena left the Galaxy to coach the United States Men’s National Team, Curt Onalfo was a safe hire. Onalfo had been coaching “Los Dos”, the Galaxy’s USL club and the front office could walk down the hall to interview and offer him the job. Safe doesn’t always equal right. Onalfo coached two other MLS teams, the then Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United. He was fired from both jobs. Bottom line, Onalfo was never the man for the job in LA.
I know what you’re thinking, Onalfo only had half a season into the job in LA, and he needed time. But he didn’t. He has a track record. He left the Wizards with a 27-29-22 record. Just half a season into his tenure in D.C (sound familiar?), he was fired after starting the season 3-12-3. The Galaxy aren’t that bad but they can’t afford to even think about being that bad. This is the LA Galaxy we’re talking about. The First to Five, arguably the flagship team of Major League Soccer. This is the team of Landon Donovan, Jorge Campos, Luis Hernandez ,and Cobi Jones. The team that brought David Beckham to America. This is the team that once gave a contract to an actor from Melrose Place! The Galaxy are the closest thing MLS has ever had to something approaching a dynasty, and they’ve got a noisy neighbor ready to move in and start taking what used to be theirs. The status quo isn’t good enough in LA. Look at the Lakers. They became bad and the Clippers began eating into the Lakers market share, which many thought was unthinkable just a few years ago. THE CLIPPERS! And you don’t think the Lakers have history to fall back on? Psh, fans don’t care about that. The Galaxy couldn't rest on their laurels and sit still.
Sigi Schmid is the man to replace Onalfo and honestly, he should have replaced Arena. Schmid coached the Galaxy from 1999-2004 and winning MLS Cup, US Open Cup, Supporters Shield and a CONCACAF Champions Cup with the Galaxy. Schmid has a track record of success in MLS, unlike Onalfo, winning trophies with Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders. Maybe Schmid needed some time off after leaving the Sounders around this time last year. Schmid will immediately command the Galaxy locker room, something that was reportedly fractured under Onalfo. With the rumored signing of Jonathan dos Santos, Schmid will be expected to turn the Galaxy season around and get them to the playoffs. This is a job Sigi can certainly do.
Is Sigi the “sexy” name to grab headlines in LA? Maybe, maybe not. But he wins. And winning is what fans want. Especially fans in LA. With LAFC ready to join the league in a matter of months the Galaxy had to do something. They 100% made the right move here. The firing of Onalfo and hiring of Schmid shows what we’ve come to know about the Galaxy, they don’t play second-fiddle to anyone. And they won’t be intimidated by other teams in MLS, especially new kids on their own block. Galaxy fans should be extremely happy today. Their team sleep walked through the first half of the season, but this should be a shot that wakes them up. Is it still possible to be MLS champions at the end of the year? Why don't you ask Sigi? He knows better than anybody.