The media was first sent to the press conference where interim head coach Dominic Kinnear spoke to the media. He had not spoken to the team yet.
After the press conference, we waited outside the Galaxy’s locker room for about 10 minutes — that’s a longer than usual time. Once let in, we were informed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic would not be available for post-game comment and that he had already left the building by Galaxy PR Staff.
Larry Morgan contributed to this report
Thoughts on how things went in the second half, seemed like you didn’t have the energy you had in the first half:
You’re right. Your eyes are good on that one. We did not. We were a little complacent. Our passing became shorter and a little bit negative at times. I think Ema (Boateng) had a wonderful chance at 2-1 which would have made it 3-1. Obviously, the third goal puts the game out of reach. But I think we put a lot into it. You would have loved to see the same energy come out in the second half, but we didn’t do that.
Was this a defensive problem in the second half, or was it an adjustment by Houston:
We possessed the ball great in the first half and they didn’t really get a kick. The only time they got a kick was when they broke us on set pieces. We stopped possessing the ball and when we did it was too close to our goal. So, we were inviting pressure at times. We needed better movement off the ball and lost our shape a little bit. They went a little bit higher, but I still think with our passing and our movement if we would have been a little sharper, we would have opened up a bit better.
Can you give us an idea of what you told the team after the game:
I haven’t spoken to them yet. Because we had the ceremony out on the field.
Can you talk about the emotion of this? This is tough to take:
Yeah. I’m a bit empty right now (tears in his eyes, voice a bit shaky). Even at halftime, I knew the job wasn’t over we needed to keep on playing because they have some players going forward that can hurt you. Like I said, our possession in the first half kept them away from our goal and then our lack of possession in the second half brought them closer to our goal. So you wish you could kind of take a timeout every now and again and get the guys together, and obviously, you can’t do that in this game, but we still had chances at the end. We still had a lot of chances to score some goals. We were throwing everything forward. Guys gave everything they had. It’s an empty feeling right now for sure.
If this is it with you for the Galaxy what do you make of the stretch run you’ve had:
That’s a question for another day. I just went from feeling empty to trying to be philosophical in my short period of time as the interim head coach. So, yeah, it’s a tough one to answer.
Would you like to continue on in this job:
It’s a question for another day, Scott. This is the post-game press conference, right? Not the Dominic Kinnear future? I know where you’re coming from Frenchy. That stuff, for me, isn’t even in the back of my mind right now. My feelings are with the team, and the front office, and the fans. It’s a great club, as we know. When I walked in here, Brendan (Hannan) said that LAFC finished in third. Just makes it even a little bit more hurtful. But like I said, I can’t fault the players at all. They’ve been a good group to be around.
On the penalty:
They crossed the ball and I didn’t see the player behind me. It was a big mistake. I was late, I tried to kick the ball out. It was a big mistake, I’m very sad about that because Houston come back after that. It was tough for everybody. I’m not happy about that.
Regarding the frustration of not playing well in the second half:
In the second half, I don’t know why we play a different way. That’s why Houston came back in the game. I think we forgot the basics. Fight for each other, run for each other, that’s why Houston came back and we lost. But we have no excuse. When we look at the season we don’t deserve it. But when we see the last two months, maybe. Because we fight to come back.
Is the team and are you in a state of shock:
Yeah, of course, of course. It’s a big mistake. But it is what it is. After, I tried to give the best I can to get back in the game. And make some good crosses and finish the play. It’s difficult for me tonight. I just want to say sorry for the fans, sorry for the team.
We gave so much the last two months we left a lot of energy in every game to win. At the end of the season, your body is feeling a bit tired. We have to be better and to win this game and that’s it.
We saw maybe it was easy. I told you, I think we forget why we were there. Our style was good, we played for each other and we scored some goals. In the second half, I think it was different. We just have to blame ourselves. Now just have to move forward. A club like LA Galaxy has to make the playoffs every year. Without playoffs, it’s tough.
We have to move forward. We don’t make the playoffs, but we give everything to come back in the game and get in the playoffs. I think we made the fans proud the last two months and we are sorry about the last 45 minutes.
Will you return next year:
I’m back. Yeah, of course.
What do you think the offseason will bring:
I think there will be a lot of movement. I don’t know about the coaching staff, but we will see. We have to find maybe another coach, I don’t know. But we have to keep this team because we have some good players. We saw that the last two months, we can do something great, but we have to do that the whole season. Two months wasn’t enough. We lost a lot of points during the season. Every time the team came back and tied it or lost. We have to be confident, have to try to forget even though it’s hard and have to move forward. Maybe with another coach, I don’t know. Maybe some other players. We have to work harder to come back in this game and make LA Galaxy the best club in the league.
Take us through your emotions:
We’re all devastated, to say the least. We can’t allow that to happen. I know we’re 2-0 up and we’re mature enough, and we have the players to kill this game off. We have only to blame ourselves. And yes, it has been a rollercoaster this whole season, but I thought we did such a good job to get back into it, and I thought if we got through this game no one was going to stop us and it’s a real shame.
On what happened in the second half:
I think we just lost our positioning a bit, our possession. I think that’s what sort of killed them in the first half. We had options, everybody was moving. Especially after their first goal – they got it early in the second half. I think that we definitely felt the momentum shift. Their wingers are tough and once they get into a groove… but again, we’re much better than that.
On being frustrated with the chances that were missed:
I can blame myself for one of those, I guess. It shouldn’t get to that, the way we look at it. But you’re right, we did have our chances. The ref did give us a good amount of time to get our two goals in. But we can’t let them score that third one. It was just too easy.
On how the penalty kick hurt the Galaxy:
Yeah, that was the dagger. Especially for our emotion and momentum. It was devastating to see and it was just hard to get back into it. Especially when we’re all forward. I mean they probably could have got another one. We had no defenders left, everyone was up top, and it just shouldn’t get to that.
On this being a microcosm of this season:
That’s literally what’s happened all season, you’re right. We score. We know we’re going to score. But just keeping a clean sheet. I know it’s definitely the biggest topic for us and things next year we have to fix. We’ve got to flip that around.
On a likely coaching change:
It’s hard to think about in this moment in time. I think it’s obviously early, but upstairs needs to do what it needs to do, and I’m sure there will be a couple changes. But there’s one thing I do want to say is that we as a group, give a lot of credit to Dom, stepping in. And he’s done a tremendous job. It’s not easy coming in and flipping it all around, and that’s exactly what he did. And we appreciate it. And hopefully, he stays. But whatever happens, we all think he did a great job.
On starting well, and on scoring twice:
Of course, it’s devastating. Since the Toronto game or after that, I really believed that we were going into the playoffs, and then you just see it fade away. It’s tough.
On the energy after halftime:
I think the adjustment Houston did when they came out probably helped them. We couldn’t figure it out and we didn’t play the same way we did in the first half. Because I think we were dominating them in the first half. We were definitely the best team, but we couldn’t keep it up in the second half. And that’s our fault.
On being frustrated by the number of chances that were missed:
I think especially looking back now, taking a loss and not going into the playoffs, it’s a terrible feeling. We had enough chances that we should have killed the game. In the end, it just wasn’t enough.
On what Dom did for you down the stretch:
I think he gave us defensive structure. I think a lot of guys really enjoyed coming into training, working hard. And I think that’s what he did. And I think everybody enjoyed the last one or two months and I think that showed.
Would like Dom to come back:
I like Dom a lot.
On What kind of offseason are you expecting:
It’s normal in MLS. Our team should be in the playoffs. And should be competing for the Championship. And we didn’t. So I think the board and everyone have to look at what can be done so that we’re going to win next year.
On what happened in the second half:
I Don’t know. I think when they scored that first goal that killed us. We kind of lost our confidence. We stopped playing. We stopped doing the things we done in the first half to get the two goals. Then our hearts just dropped and that was it. Conceding one goal after another.
On this game being a microcosm of the rest of the season:
Yeah. We just wish it didn’t happen today. We were confident coming into the game and then two up maybe a lapse in concentration at times as a team. Then you concede one, and it’s one after another. We’re disappointed again we haven’t made the playoffs, but I think the guys would rather take the positive from the last five or six games, how we played, and use that for next season, now.
On if you were already counting you were in:
Yeah, I think so. When we went two up, that in the back of our minds that they had nothing to play for and it’s already won. But you can’t do that in football. I think the first goal hit us hard, and then they played their game on the counter-attack and punished us.
On the penalty:
It could happen to anyone. But probably at the wrong time. We just couldn’t recover from that. And then it goes after the goal we conceded. We had to go for it, but we just weren’t good enough today in the end.
Last Game with the Galaxy:
I don’t know. I think after today I’m going to sit down and kind of figure out my options. See if the body can recover, and the head. But we’ll see. I’m not going to make my mind up right now.
So we might see you next year:
I don’t know (shaking his head).
He’s been a big influence for us on the field and off the field. Scored many goals for us -important goals. He’s been a great leader for us. I think it shouldn’t just be me kind of talking, trying to organize stuff. He’s been a big leader for us and what he’s done on the pitch is fantastic for us.
How much credit do you give to Dom:
A lot. The way he come in, I thought it was a difficult situation for him. Of course, being Sigi’s friend as well. He kind of got put in a position that he didn’t want to be in at the time, but the way he conducted himself and the way he got on with it, changed the mentality of this team and the philosophy of how we wanted to do things — how we play.
The intensity in training got better. So I really hope that they keep him because I think what he showed in the few games he’s been here, he’s proved that he’s good enough to do it. Players love him. Everyone loves him. For me, I hope they consider him to be a good option. Because what he got out of the guys, I think he got the best. I just hope he does well.
If this is your last game with the Galaxy, what can you say about your time in MLS/LA:
I’ve loved it. I think when I first come here, a lot of people probably didn’t think I still had the kind of fight and desire to want to be here, want to play. I have to thank people like Bruce Arena when he brung me here took a gamble on me, probably. Considering the age and that. Ever since that, I’ve tried to work hard in training, help the team on the field, help the players off the field. It’s been great. I’ve loved every minute of it.
Even though it would have been nice to win. I’ve enjoyed every minute.
A little bit sad, you know, walking around the pitch today and not knowing what I’m going to do because the fans, probably at the start, again, didn’t take to me because of the comment. And in the end, the reception I got was nice. And to win LARS player of the year again, probably shows that I’ve done something good in my three years.