LOS ANGELES — LA Galaxy players are working to adjust to new head coach Dominic Kinnear, while maintaining focus on the six remaining games in the MLS season in hopes of earning a playoff spot.
Their week began with the announcement former head coach Sigi Schmid’s resignation, news several players said surprised them.
The team returned to training Monday morning after a bye week due to FIFA International dates. Practice normally begins at 10 a.m., but they received text messages saying there was a team meeting at 9:15 a.m. They were met in the locker room by club president Chris Klein, who shared the news.
“I think we were a little surprised, for sure,” midfielder Servando Carrasco explained. “There was no chatter about it before. When you walk into the locker room and you have a team meeting and the President comes in and gives you the news, guys are a little bit shocked. You take a little bit of accountability for something like that. The coach’s job is to get us prepared for the game, but once the game starts it’s our job to get results.”
Players seemed optimistic while speaking to reporters after practice, and several mentioned the opportunities that may arise for those looking for more playing time.
“Players that have not been getting a lot of game time, maybe it’s their chance to step now, train a little bit harder and who knows what the team will be on Saturday,” Galaxy captain Ashley Cole said. “Dom’s a great guy. He was a great number two here, and now it’s his time to shine. Whether it’s six games or who knows? The lads have got to get behind him and battle, give everything now, because it’s too critical now, and we have to start winning.”
Kinnear heard the news Sunday morning by way of a phone call from Klein. He then reached out to Schmid to share thoughts about their time working together. From there, Kinnear began to focus on his plan for the Galaxy moving forward.
“It all depends on the health of your squad, first and foremost, and what you can and cannot put out there,” explained Kinnear. “We have been battling injuries over the past couple of weeks, as everyone should know by the players missing on the field.
“The only thing I demand from the players, as any coach does, is when you step across that line, you’re focused, you’re working hard to do one thing: to help your team win the game. And that’s it.”
As for the current health of the squad, both Sebastian Lletget and Giovanni Dos Santos were inside during practice, and their status for this weekend is still unknown. Jonathan Dos Santos and Rolf Feltscher are on international duty, but should be available for the Galaxy come Saturday.
The Galaxy have only six games remaining in the regular season to try to clinch one of the coveted playoff spots. They sit just three points out of the playoff picture and will face Western Conference teams in five of those six matches, including matches against each of the two teams above and below them on the table. Maximum points from each “six-point” match will be pivotal for the Galaxy.
Kinnear’s first match at the helm will come Saturday when the team travels to take on Toronto FC at 7:30 p.m. ET.