Dennis te Kloese closes the book on the time of Guillermo Barros Schelotto calling it a ‘sad day.’
What LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese called a “sad day” on Thursday felt more like an inevitable one when the club announced it had dismissed embattled head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and his staff.
Dominic Kinnear, an assistant under Schelotto, was named interim coach for the club’s three remaining regular-season games starting with Sunday’s clash with Real Salt Lake at Dignity Health Sports Park.
“Obviously this is a very sad time and a difficult time also,” te Kloese told reporters. “In a project that started two years ago with Guillermo, with a lot of things that can be seen as positives last year, we haven’t been able to capitalize this year.
“This is a very sad day, but it doesn’t take away responsibility from everybody, nor my responsibility.”
Schelotto, who reportedly had one year left on a three-year guaranteed contract that paid him $1 million annually, was named to the position on Jan. 2, 2019, and had a final record of 21-26-6. He guided the Galaxy to a fifth-place finish in the Western Conference a year ago and the second round of the MLS Cup playoffs — where they lost to arch-rival Los Angeles FC — but the five-time MLS Cup champions started 2020 slowly and suffered through a poor appearance in the MLS Is Back tournament in Orlando, Fla. Their winless three-game run there featured an embarrassing 6-2 loss to the LAFC.
The Galaxy, however, surprisingly rebounded with a four-game winning streak that included two shutouts of LAFC, but since then have gone 1-8-1, including Wednesday’s 5-2 drubbing in Portland, Ore., and have been outscored 26-8. Schelotto, in a brief post-game press conference Wednesday, said, “We have some possibilities and we need to go forward and that’s it.”
Schelotto, however, won’t get that chance. The five-time MLS Cup champions currently are last in the West with a 5-11-3 record and have allowed 41 goals, third-most in the league behind only San Jose (45 goals) and Vancouver (43).
Now it’s Kinnear’s chance to right a sinking ship. Kinnear, fourth all-time in MLS coaching victories behind Sigi Schmid, Bruce Arena, and Bob Bradley is no stranger to interim duties with the Galaxy. He took over for Schmid late in the 2018 season and coached them to a 3-2-1 record, only to be denied a postseason berth on the last day of the regular season.
Te Kloese wouldn’t say if Kinnear would be considered for the position on a permanent basis, but he did point out Galaxy players “really and truly respect him as a highly qualified manager in this league.”
“In the case of Dominic,” he said, “I think we’ll take it step by step which I think this year is the most sensitive thing we can do.
“We’ve learned, and let’s work as an organization and as a group for Sunday’s game and take it step by step before drawing any conclusions on candidacy or how we go forward.”
Te Kloese said the decision to relieve Schelotto of his coaching duties was a difficult one, to say the least.
“I don’t think there’s a good time for something like this,” he said. “Ever. I do think the message is this club takes high pride in their fans and what they expect from the team. We’re very, very aware of the under-performance of this year so far … with a clear sense of responsibility.
“As I also stated last night” — in a halftime ESPN interview — “with too many games that don’t represent what the fans expect from us. A sad day, to be honest, to end this relation and hopefully we end up on a note that at least in the upcoming games the fans see pride and see fighting spirit that as a minimum requirement should be on our team.”