Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid may not be on the hot seat yet. But the temperature will start rising significantly if the Galaxy leaves Montreal on Monday without earning at least a point against the lowly Impact.
Schmid’s Galaxy have lost four straight, five of their last six and have led for just 45 minutes since March 4. Another loss would equal the team’s longest slide since 2007 and likely ratchet up the pressure on Schmid, who has won just five of 24 games since replacing Curt Onalfo as coach last summer.
“People are always going to talk. That’s part of it,” Galaxy president Chris Klein said in backing his coach. “You’d rather be undefeated at this point and have everyone say, ‘Wow, look at all the amazing things you’re doing.’”
The Galaxy have done few amazing things since Zlatan Ibrahimovic came off the bench to score two goals, the second a game-winner in stoppage time, in his first MLS appearance. In the six weeks since Ibrahimovic has experienced another first by enduring the only four-game losing streak of his 19-year professional career.
“It’s a big contrast from where I came from,” he said of his MLS experience in general. “I’m looking and learning. Everything is still new for me.
“But it will be good. I am positive.”
That would qualify as one of the few positives for the Galaxy, who are once again likely to be without forward Giovani dos Santos. Schmid said Dos Santos, the Galaxy’s highest-paid player at $6 million, is dealing with his fourth hamstring injury since August. He has made just four starts this season.
His brother Jonathan, a midfielder, came out of last week’s loss after being kneed in the back of right leg but is expected to be available in Montreal.
However the offense hasn’t been the issue for the Galaxy (3-6-1), who have netted six goals in their last three games yet lost each by a 3-2 score. Schmid agrees with his critics that the team’s defending has been lax yet fixing that Monday won’t be easy since the team is also without captain and left back Ashley Cole, who is serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. Right back Rolf Feltscher was already out with injury, weakening what already was the weakest part of the team.
“The naysayers are correct. Our defending right now isn’t good enough,” Schmid said.
“It’s going to take us being more aware. It’s going to take us reacting quicker. It’s going to take us being strong in duels, being harder in tackles.”
Montreal’s injury-plagued defense has been even worse, though, allowing a league-high 26 goals and compiling a -12 goal differential The Impact (3-8-0) have lost six of their last seven, making this a game the Galaxy can’t afford to lose.
“There’s time to start doing something and turn this around,’” Klein said. “If we can do that now, it’s still going to be a good season.
“It’s a matter of coming together as a group and showing some passion and then doing the fighting. We have to show that.”
Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11