The news dropped like dueling sledgehammers on Wednesday morning: First, the LA Galaxy announced that they had fired manager Curt Onalfo and replaced him with Sigi Schmid.
Then, not two hours later, the Galaxy’s new cross-town rivals answered. LAFC announced that it had landed former U.S. national team manager Bob Bradley as its first ever head coach.
The battle to own Los Angeles is very much on – and, amazingly enough, it’s the Galaxy, with their six MLS Cups and global brand name, seem to be playing from behind.
Mired in ninth place in the Western Conference and owners of a shocking 1-6-3 home record, the Galaxy are turning to Schmid to salvage a season that is well on its way to robbing the Galaxy of its reputation the league’s gold standard.
Schmid, 64 and entering his eighteenth season as an MLS manager, begins his second stint as Galaxy boss with a point to prove. After seven wildly successful years in Seattle, Schmid was fired midway through last season – and had to watch as the Sounders won their first MLS Cup without him.
“I definitely want to continue coaching,” Schmid told FourFourTwo last August. “For me, my passion, my desire, my fire is still there to coach. I definitely still want to win another title, win an MLS Cup. I definitely want to do that. So we’ll relax a little bit, wait and see, and look for the right opportunity, and, hopefully, that will present itself.”
Now, after a year on the unemployment line, it has. In a duel profile of Schmid and Bruce Arena on MLS Insider last year, Schmid – comparing his two zero MLS Cups to Arena’s five – tried to take solace in the fact that his teams have, over the years, produced more national team players than Arena’s have.
It was, in a way, a rather pitiful claim. It’s Arena, after all, who is in his second spell and ninth year in total in charge of U.S.
And in many ways it’s Arena – who won three of his championships with L.A. – who Schmid is chasing, trying win the last title that the Sounders marched to without him last winter.
Schmid now inherits a team in need of a jolt and a club feeling the heat. To put it simply, this is the worst possible time for the Galaxy to be having their worst season in a decade.