, the third-winningest coach in MLS history, has replaced the winningest coach, Sigi Schmid
, at the LA Galaxy and will coach the five-time MLS champions for the first time
on Saturday when they play at Toronto FC.
The Galaxy's playoff situation is critical -- eighth in the Western Conference with six game to play -- but not as dire as that
of the defending champions.
TFC is ninth in the Eastern Conference with nine points to make up (but a game in hand) on sixth-place Montreal. The Galaxy only trails sixth-place Seattle by
three points. The problem is that it's played two more games than the Sounders. (Vancouver is seventh, two points ahead of the Galaxy with one game in hand.) LA Galaxy Schedule:
at Toronto FC Sept. 23:
Seattle Sept. 29:
Vancouver Oct. 6:
KC Oct. 21:
at Minn. United Oct. 28:
"I think everyone knows the urgency of the situation," Kinnear, who joined the Galaxy as Schmid's assistant last
season, said in his first press availability with the media. "We don’t have the coach we started the season with. We have six games left, we still have a chance to make the playoffs, and they
have to be professional about it, put any emotions aside and get back to working hard to hopefully prepare well and win the game on Saturday."
The Galaxy has been all over the map this
season in terms of its formations and starting personnel as it adjusted to the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic
and battled a slew of injuries. It was recently playing in a 3-5-2 formation but was
crushed -- 5-0 at Seattle and 6-2 at Real Salt Lake -- in its last two games on the road.
Kinnear has handled working on tactics with the players this season, but he would not
comment on how he'll approach the remaining games.
“The game has changed a little bit," he said. "I always had this reputation of being a strict 4-4-2 manager, which was far from
the truth in my last couple years. It all depends on the health of your squad, first and foremost, and what you can and cannot put out there. We have been battling injuries over the past couple of
weeks, as everyone should know by the players missing on the field. The only thing I demand from the players, as any coach does, is when you step across that line, you’re focused, you’re
working hard to do one thing: to help your team win the game. And that’s it.”