COLUMBUS, Ohio – LA Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid issued a challenge to his players following Wednesday’s loss to the Columbus Crew.
“I need a few guys to step up and be louder on the field,” Schmid said after the team’s third consecutive defeat. “Last year, the team had a great leader in Robbie Keane and right now, there’s a little bit of a void especially down the middle of the field. You need guys to step up and say, ‘I’m in charge here.'"
Schmid’s team hung tough in Columbus despite going down to 10-men after a controversial red card issued to Ashley Cole that was later confirmed by Video Review. With the team mired in a nine-game winless streak that dates all the way back to May, Schmid implored someone to step up and take a leadership role on the field.
“You either have it or you don’t have it as a player. You either have the willingness to direct others or you don’t want to direct others. Sometimes that makes a difference and determines how good a career somebody has,” Schmid told reporters. “They’ve played enough games. If you look at the guys and their pedigree and their background, they’ve played enough games, and some guys have done very well when they’re in supporting roles.
“But now, their role has changed and they’ve got to be leaders. That hasn’t necessarily fallen into place. Confidence is also short. If you won a game or two, maybe somebody’s chest puffs out, and they’re more willing and able to be a leader, but that is certainly one of the things that we have to work through right now.”
Cole, who will miss out on the San Jose Earthquakes match due to suspension, agreed with his manager and declared that something needs to change starting with Sunday’s California Clásico contest with the Earthquakes.
“It comes down to personality. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one that hollers and shouts in the dressing room. It’s about personality on the pitch,” Cole told LA Galaxy Insider. “You don’t have to be a holler or a shouter, but you do have to be a leader by example in terms of putting your foot in, winning tackles, getting blocks and winning tackles. It comes down to the personality of the players. Maybe, they’re a little bit kind of shy, but I understand what he’s saying.
“They need to step up and be leaders. Jelle isn’t here, Jermaine is injured, Gio is not here, I’m going to be suspended [for San Jose], so yeah, hopefully in the next game, some of the players step up by being vocal. We did have a great effort vs. Columbus though and, maybe, with 11 men it would be different.”