CARSON, Calif. – Dominic Kinnear was with his family on Sunday morning, tending to what he called “a little bit of a family emergency,” when his anxiety reached another level.
He was informed he was being named interim coach of the struggling Los Angeles Galaxy.
“Two pieces of news I wasn’t really thrilled about,” he said Tuesday, his second day of overseeing training following the resignation of head coach Sigi Schmid. Kinnear said he spoke to Schmid immediately after receiving the promotion – an announcement that team officials chose not to reveal until a day later – and expressed his gratitude for working for the winningest coach in Major League Soccer history.
“Not much I can say,” Kinnear said. “ I learned a lot from him. I enjoyed the conversations and became a lot closer than I ever thought I would.
“But I’m glad that we did.”
Now it’s up to the 51-year-old, who joined the Galaxy as Schmid’s top assistant last August, to salvage a season and rescue a team that is in danger of missing the MLS Cup playoffs for the second consecutive season. The five-time MLS Cup champions currently are three points out of the last postseason spot in the Western Conference.
He takes over a squad that is winless in its last six matches (0-3-3) and has been outscored 17-8 during that span. He also takes over a woeful defense that is last in the conference in goals allowed (54).
Members of the Galaxy who have played for Kinnear in his previous head coaching stints (in Houston and twice with San Jose) said big changes could be in store.
“I think if you remember Dom’s teams with Houston, I think the effort was non-negotiable,” said Servando Carrasco, who played for Kinnear in Houston in 2013 and 2014. “It was a hard-nosed team, a blue-collar style. Guys never gave up. Especially during this time of the season when every point matters.
“Looking back to the teams he coached with Houston I think that we’re trying to kind of adopt that same mentality, if you want to call it that.”
Goalkeeper David Bingham, who was with Kinnear from 2015-2017 in San Jose, called Kinnear “a proven winner.”
“Dom’s definitely hands-on and is really involved with the guys,” Bingham said, “and I think the guys like that.”
Kinnear said he won’t be asking much from his inherited squad.
“The only thing I demand from the players, as any coach does, is when you step across that line you are focused, you are working hard to do one thing – help your team win the game,” he said. “That’s it.”
He did not say if he will pursue the position on a full-time basis — “I’m not going to answer that,” he told reporters Tuesday — but he certainly is well aware of the formidable task at hand.
“I think everyone knows the urgency of the situation,” he said. “We don’t have the coach that started the season with us. We have six games left and still have a chance to make the playoffs.
“They have to be professional about it and try and put aside any emotions, just get back to working hard to hopefully prepare well and win on Saturday (in Toronto).
“Everyone takes responsibility for what’s gone on and what the record has been, myself included,” he continued. “The only thing we can do the last six games, starting Saturday in Toronto, is just to treat it like you should every game. You have to play with pride and play from minute one to 90 and try and win.
“That’s what we need to do these days.”