Five months into Curt Onalfo's first season in charge of the LA Galaxy, the club has moved in another direction.
The struggling MLS power fired Onalfo and replaced him with former Galaxy, Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders manager Sigi Schmid, effective immediately. The LA Times first reported the move, which was then announced by the club.
Onalfo, who was Bruce Arena’s assistant, both for the national team in his first stint with the U.S. and the Galaxy, never seemed to have the full confidence of both fans and players as sub-par performances have taken the five-time MLS Cup champions to ninth place in the Western Conference after 20 matches (6-10-4). The club is in the midst of a five-game losing streak and faces Schmid's former team, the Sounders, in its next match. The news came just minutes before word began to spread that future city rival LAFC will make Bob Bradley the club's first manager.
It was never going to be an easy task for Onalfo, as the squad went through a major transition before the season started. Influential veterans such as Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Landon Donovan left, and current players such as Giovani Dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes have battled form and injury woes.
Schmid, who holds the record for most wins as an MLS head coach, managed the team from 1999-2004 and won a CONCACAF club title in 2000 and did the MLS Cup-Supporters' Shield double in 2002. He was working most recently as an analyst for ESPN after was axed by the Sounders almost exactly a year ago.
"Sigi is one of the most experienced coaches in the history of soccer in the United States," said Galaxy's president Chris Klein in a statement. "And he is an extremely successful manager that has proven himself to be a winner within Major League Soccer."
This is third time Onalfo has been let go from an MLS head coaching job. Onalfo, after three seasons with Kansas City Wizards, was fired in August 2009. A few months later he took charge of D.C. United, but he was let go that ensuing season, in August 2010, due to United’s poor record.
He had a stellar record as manager of the Galaxy's USL affiliate, LA Galaxy II, with the club hoping his experience there would translate with the number of young players being brought through its system.