The LA Galaxy have a new coach in Sigi Schmid, but they can't quite seem to shake the problems that have been plaguing them all year.
They dropped their seventh home game of the season on Saturday night, falling 2-0 to New York City FC, a match Schmid said LA "didn't deserve to lose."
And when asked in his postgame press conference (watch above) what his team was lacking against NYCFC, Schmid barely hesitated, saying: "A center forward. Somebody who’s very comfortable finishing goals."
The position has been a problematic one for the Galaxy throughout the year. While Romain Alessandrini and Giovani dos Santos have produced much of the offense LA have generated from the attacking midfield positions, Jack McBean is the only center forward on the roster with more than one goal, and both of those came in one game – a June 21 win at Colorado.
The Galaxy are hoping that Gyasi Zardes – a US international and 16-goal scorer in 2014 – can be the solution for their goalscoring woes up top, but he has so far not proved up to the task. Schmid noted that Zardes was "anonymous" in the first 30 minutes on Saturday evening and though he thought the LA native improved as the game went on, "we need more from him. It wasn't enough."
Zardes has not yet managed to replicate his scintillating 2014 form, when he was sharing the field with two of the league's most accomplished attackers in Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. He scored six goals apiece in 2015 and 2016, but has yet to get off the mark in league play in 2017.
"There’s big-time finishers in this league that are playing," Schmid said. "Gyasi’s in a rut right now, we’re trying to get him out of that rut but [center forward] is the area that we need."
When asked how the Galaxy planned on getting Zardes out of his rut, Schmid did reiterate his support for the 25-year-old Galaxy academy product.
"We did some work on his shooting and his footwork on that," Schmid said. "We’ll continue to support him and continue to work.
"What happens when you’re a forward is sometimes you start to press and you don’t believe and…forwards have to have short term memories, they can’t remember the last time they missed a goal and you’ve got to eliminate that. But he’s a good kid, he works hard and he’ll come through."