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Soccer

Galaxy fire coach Curt Onalfo, hire Sigi Schmid to finish season

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The Galaxy have fired coach Curt Onalfo and hired former Galaxy player Sigi Schmid to take his place.
(Victor Decolongon / Getty Images)

The slumping Galaxy fired coach Curt Onalfo on Thursday and named Sigi Schmid, a former Galaxy and Seattle Sounders coach, to take his place through the end of the season.

Schmid, 64, is the winningest coach in MLS history, with 254 victories in 17 seasons with the Galaxy, Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders. He has won two MLS Cups ,including one with the Galaxy, and five U.S. Open Cups. Three times his teams have finished with the league’s best regular-season record.

Schmid took over the team at training Thursday morning and will be on the sidelines Saturday when the Galaxy, mired in a five-game losing streak, play his former team, the Seattle Sounders, at StubHub Center.

“After a great deal of evaluation and careful consideration, we believe that Sigi Schmid is the best person to coach our team for the remainder of this season and into the future,” Galaxy president Chris Klein said in a statement. “Sigi is one of the most experienced coaches in the history of soccer in the United States and he is an extremely successful manager that has proven himself to be a winner within Major League Soccer.

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“We have confidence in him to lead our team moving forward.”

The Galaxy said the hiring was an interim move and that they would discuss Schmid’s future with the team following the season.

His hiring comes a year and day after Schmid was fired in Seattle, where the Sounders had struggled to a 6-12-2 record after 20 games. Longtime assistant Brian Schmetzer took over and led the Sounders to their first MLS Cup title.

Onalfo, a defender with the Galaxy’s first team in 1996, had coached in the Galaxy academy and with the team’s USL affiliate, L.A. Galaxy II, before being promoted in December to replace Bruce Arena when Arena moved on to the U.S. national team. With his knowledge of the Galaxy’s player development system, Onalfo was hired to lead a transition in which the team would build around its academy and homegrown players.

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But the team struggled with injuries, at times missing as many 12 players, and is ninth in the Western Conference standings with a 6-10-4 record. The team has played well at times, posting an eight-game unbeaten streak in May and June. But that gave way to a five-game losing streak this month and Onalfo appeared to have lost the support of many in the locker room.

Onalfo previously coached in the MLS for DC United and the Kansas City Wizards and was released in midseason both times. He has an MLS record of 36-51-29 with three teams.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11

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