On Saturday September 29th the Vancouver Whitecaps head South to face Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy. Match start is 7pm PST. The Whitecaps are looking to bounce back from a a couple losses at home, as well as the firing of their leader Carl Robinson. The Galaxy on the other hand have done just that, Sigi Schmid has recently stepped down from the coaching position, and has been succeeded on an interim basis by Dominic Kinnear. With coaching changes and redemption in mind, I had a chat with LAG Confidential about our sides respective predicaments.
86Forever: Sigi Schmid recently left the team after a six game winless streak and was replaced by Dominic Kinnear, the team has a win and a loss in the two games since. Has shaking up the club been a positive or a negative?
LAGC: Definitely positive. Kinnear made several changes to the lineup vs. the Sounders and they were all successful. The center back tandem of Dave Romney and Daniel Steres helped LA earn a rare clean sheet. Sebastian Lletget was inserted for Perry Kitchen and performed brilliantly alongside Jonathan dos Santos, and Emmanuel Boateng was a game changer in the 4-4-2 formation utilized by Dom.
86Forever: The Galaxy recently beat Seattle Sounders 3-0 vaulting them over the Caps as the team closest-to-but-not-in the playoffs, is there a sense with the supporters that the team has turned a corner and can make some noise if they do reach the post season?
LAGC: A cautious optimism is brewing among Galaxy fans. With Zlatan in the lineup LA have proven they can play direct and thrive. Dom Kinnear doesn’t need to cobble together an intricate attacking system for the Galaxy to light up the scoreboard. The issue is consistently[sic]. If LA can string together a series of results to sneak into the MLS Cup playoffs, the sky is the limit.
86Forever: How nice has it been to watch Zlatan Ibrahimovic week in and week out? Has there been a noticeable change in the team’s attitude or ability since he joined the club?
LAGC: It’s a privilege watching Ibra perform on a weekly basis. The Swedish target striker is silky smooth in possession and has always been an underrated passer. It’s also been a pleasant surprise to discover beneath the “Zlatan” character, Ibra is very much a humble dude and one of the guys.
LAGC: How do you believe the Whitecaps will respond to the firing of manager Carl Robinson?
86Forever: I believe the Caps have enough veteran leadership that a positive response is likely. This is a team that ought to have fire in their bellies after what’s transpired in the last few weeks. Remember not only did Robbo go, but his assistants Martyn Pert and Stewart Kerr were relieved of their duties as well. That is upper management sending a message to the team if I have ever seen one.
LAGC: Speaking of managers, who are Vancouver looking at to fill the head coaching vacancy?
86Forever: The name I am hearing is Marc Dos Santos, the assistant manager at LAFC. The concern is that he is also interviewing with San Jose, so the Caps moved on Robbo before the season was out in order to have a crack at him.
LAGC: Looking ahead to 2019, what is the future of the club with Robbo gone and teen sensation Alphonso Davies on his way to Bayern Munich?
86Forever: The word bleak comes to mind.... With death comes re-birth though, right? The Caps are gonna have 5 games to basically hold a tryout for next season, I am certain jobs are on the line. The Caps had 23 players move through the club in the last off-season and if we’re wagering over under on transfers this off-season, I’m betting hard on the over. The new manager will also have a much larger transfer budget than Robbo ever had, depending on how the owners divide that sweet Phonzie money so there is some optimism there.