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Sigi Schmid steps down as LA Galaxy head coach; Dominic Kinnear to take over

Taylor Twellman explains why Sigi Schmid's exit from the LA Galaxy could shake things up in the search for a new U.S. national team coach.
Real Salt Lake are on a scoring spree as they become the first team in MLS history to score six goals or more in back-to-back games.

Sigi Schmid has stepped down as LA Galaxy manager effective immediately, the MLS club announced on Monday.

Schmid, 65, leaves a Galaxy team that is in eighth place in the Western Conference, two spots out of a playoff berth with just six matches left to play.

He will be replaced by Galaxy assistant coach Dominic Kinnear.

"I have coached at various levels of soccer in the United States for over 35 years, where I have dedicated myself to furthering the sport in our country," Schmid said of his decision. "After careful consideration, I have decided to step away from coaching at this time, but would like to remain in the game.

"With six games remaining as the club fights for a playoff spot, I understand the timing of this decision is unfortunate. However, I believe this group can come together and fight for a spot this season under Dom's guidance. I am grateful to the LA Galaxy for being such a significant part of my life and my career."

Schmid returned to the club in July 2017 after then-coach Curt Onalfo was sacked. He had previously been in charge of the Galaxy for five years from 1999-2004 and won the MLS Cup in 2002.

He has also won the MLS Coach of the Year Award twice, first in 1999 and then again in 2008 when he won the MLS Supporters' Shield/Cup double with Columbus Crew. Schmid also won the MLS Supporters' Shield and four U.S. Open Cups with Seattle before he was fired in July of 2016.

"We want to thank Sigi for everything he's done for the LA Galaxy and for soccer in Southern California," said Galaxy president Chris Klein. "He has played such an integral part of the success of the LA Galaxy since 1996, including helping bring this club the first of five MLS Cup trophies.

"We respect Sigi's decision and we will continue to focus on our push for playoffs as we move forward. Dom is one of the finest coaches in the history of this league, and we trust him to lead this group for the remainder of the season. His keen understanding of our team and MLS will serve us well for the last six games of the season. The club will conduct its search for the next LA Galaxy head coach immediately."

Kinnear was hired as Schmid's assistant in August of last year. 

The former Houston Dynamo coach, who ranks third among MLS coaches with 166 career wins, joined Schmid's staff after parting ways with the San Jose Earthquakes in June 2017.

"I want to thank Sigi and the LA Galaxy for bringing me here last season," Kinnear said. "Our focus now is to win as many games as possible through the end of the season."

LA made worldwide headlines after signing superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in March. However, the team's defensive frailties have seen the team underperform since the former Manchester United man's arrival.

When asked if Ibrahimovic had come to the front office to request a managerial change amid the Galaxy's struggles, Klein was adamant that was never the case.

He said: "Zlatan, since he has come, I understand his reputation and his personality, but he has been beyond professional and he would never go there, even if he wanted to."

Schmid's side have posted the second-worst defensive record in the league this season and its issues were evidenced in the Galaxy's most recent league match -- a 6-2 thrashing at Real Salt Lake in which the hosts out-shot LA 22-10.

The lopsided loss was the fifth time in the past six matches the Galaxy had lost a lead and extended the club's winless streak to six consecutive games.

ESPN FC U.S. Correspondent Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.

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