New coach, new life?
The Los Angeles Galaxy are certainly hoping so.
Mired in a six-game winless streak that dropped them below the playoff cutoff line, the Galaxy will hit the pitch for the first time under interim coach Dominic Kinnear when they visit Toronto FC on Saturday night at BMO Field.
Los Angeles (10-10-8) hasn't tasted victory since July 29, a win that put them in third place in the Western Conference. The club has gone 0-3-3 since, falling to eighth place, three points out of the sixth and final playoff spot.
That spot is held by the Seattle Sounders, who also have two matches in hand. All but one team in the top six, as well as the seventh-place Vancouver Whitecaps, hold at least one game in hand on the Galaxy.
"I think everyone knows the urgency of the situation," Kinnear, an assistant under Sigi Schmid before Schmid resigned Monday, told mlssoccer.com. "We don't have the coach from the start of the season with us. We have six games left and we still have a chance to make the playoffs. They have to be professional about it and put any emotions aside and just get back to working hard to hopefully prepare to win the game."
It has been two weeks since the Galaxy last played a game, and the most recent contest was a crushing 6-2 loss to Real Salt Lake. They've conceded 18 goals during their current slide, 11 of which came during two games (Real Salt Lake and a 5-0 loss to Seattle).
"Dom's a great guy. He was a great number two here, and now it's his time to shine," captain Ashley Cole told the Los Angeles Times. "Whether it's six games or who knows? The lads have got to get behind him and battle, give everything now, because it's too critical now, and we have to start winning."
While the visitors still have a chance at the postseason, Toronto FC (7-14-6) is all but mathematically eliminated.
The reigning MLS Cup champions, who have also been idle for the past two weeks, sit ninth in the Eastern Conference and are closer to last place than they are to sixth.
"When you win everything like we did, then you have to understand that to come back and do it again, it's going to be even harder," Michael Bradley told mlssoccer.com. "And through 27 league games this year it's not even been close. Not even close."
A win over Montreal in late August offered a flicker of postseason hope for Toronto, but Greg Vanney's group couldn't build on it, losing its next two matches. The club is nine points out of a playoff spot and three teams stand in its way.
Despite the grim outlook, Toronto FC isn't giving up.
"We've got two weeks now to see if we can regroup for the hundredth time this year and try to go after seven more games; see if we can really tilt the bar in our favo," Bradley said. "See if in a moment where everything seems lost and everybody thinks we're dead, to win a game, win another game, create a little bit of momentum and see if we can drag ourselves out of this and go into the last few games still with a real chance."