Editorial: Sigi should stay but he and the Sounders have to change

Posted in Featured, Seattle

Published on November 19, 2012 with 47 Comments

Sigi Schmid came to Seattle four years ago in a blaze of publicity.

Joe Roth and the ownership had signaled their intent to rock the MLS establishment by going and getting the most successful coach in the history of the league, a man who had won MLS titles at both a small town club Columbus Crew and at big city LA Galaxy, on every occasion within his first four years or within his first three full years.

There is no doubt that Sigi Schmid was the best coach in Major League Soccer and that Sounders by whatever means had got their man.

Columbus Cried Foul when Schmid Joined Seattle

Columbus Crew accused them of tapping their coach, a charge that later led to Sounders paying out a large sum without an actual confession or acceptance of responsibility, but it didn’t matter to the Sounders. They’d got their man.

And they were the newest, biggest, loudest and best supported kid on the block.

Since then, the club that began by disregarding the sensitivities of others in Major League Soccer has continued in that vein and made a lot of enemies along the way.

The undignified borderline abuse of referees, vilification of opposing players, preferred treatment of favoured journalists and abuse aimed at other clubs’ fans have won them few friends over the four years in MLS.

It would be also unfair to let that critique pass without acknowledging that there have been considerable improvements in certain of those areas in 2012 and there are very positive signs that the club is maturing. But the damage has been done and the bleating at officials reached fever pitch yet again after their elimination by LA Galaxy on Sunday night.

On the upside, in four years the club also broken every attendance record in the book, paved the way for the two other Cascadian expansion sides (yes, they ARE in MLS because of the Sounders), and their fans have taken supporter culture and in particular traveling supporter culture to new levels.

Football has become a sought after prize for television companies, to a considerable extent because of great viewer numbers for Sounders games. Their tickets are now a valuable item on the corporate gift circuit. They have marketed replica jerseys in the most garish revolting colours and the market has spoken even louder than those shirts, proved die-hards wrong, and deemed most of the club’s marketing decisions a success. This has rightly also won them many admirers.

What they haven’t won along this trailblazing, groundbreaking, fascinating journey is the MLS Cup.

That does not mean the club has not been successful. To their credit, they have won three U.S. Open Cups, rejuvenating the competition, and only been defeated narrowly, and on a point of controversy, in their quest for a fourth.

They have qualified for four straight post seasons.

They have done increasingly well in the CONCACAF Cup, learned lessons along the way, and they are a very good bet to be a better side come next March when that resumes. They may still be the most likely club to be the next MLS side to win the CONCACAF side and play in the lucrative World Club Cup, despite the competing claim of the side who have just eliminated them.

But they haven’t done what they set out to do when they hired Schmid: win an MLS Cup within four years. Therefore, it is not unreasonable for fans and the owners to debate whether the most successful coach in MLS history deserves further time to achieve this, or if it is time to look elsewhere.

It is never easy to debate whether a man should lose his job or not. One must weigh the issue very carefully before advocating that he should. In a conversation around a pub table, everyone will have their say and no one will really have their mind persuaded one way or other from their original point of view. The views will also evaporate with the last round of drinks. Putting them down in writing is a different matter.

This is something we have thought long and hard about, and have come to the following conclusion:  Sigi Schmid deserves another year as Sounders FC head coach and the ownership must avoid any hasty decision otherwise.

We do not say this because we believe that seventh place in the MLS table is acceptable for a club of Sounders stature. We say this because do not feel starting again at Square One with a new coach would make the Sounders v 5.0 automatically a better product than Sounders v 4.0. His formation for the away leg in LA was awful but how many successes has Sigi had in 2012 with juggling his rotation and pulling out great results while resting resources for the next game? He has produced as many rabbits out of the hat as cabbages.

They may say you are only as good as your last match. His last match was a 2-1 win and a very impressive performance. The match before was as awful as the home leg was exhilarating.  It’s a great slogan, but unfortunately it’s rubbish. You are only as good as your next match.

Would a new coach, presumably a younger one, be able to control the competing egos in that locker room? Schmid has finally won Eddie Johnson’s trust and, having got inside that head, that head is now providing a glut of goals.

Who would replace him?

MLS might not look so fondly on Sounders tapping other clubs’ coaches again, so Ben Olsen, Jason Kreis and Dominic Kinnear cannot be sounded out without permission; Bob Bradley is a realistic alternative but what current MLS knowledge does he have?

The unemployed Jesse Marsch is the highest profile qualified free agent but he has just one year of experience at expansion Montreal, and he made a few enemies too.

Kinnear has guided his team to a second successive MLS Cup Final

It is hard to construct an argument that Marsch starting from Square One would make this side more competitive come play-off time 2013.

Many fans are of an opposite view to us saying it cannot go on like this. They say something must be done. Something has to change.

We agree.

For 2013, it has to be a different Sigi Schmid, and it has to be a different Sounders FC. Furthermore Sigi’s retention of his post must be dependent on internal change.

First of all, Sigi must be allowed to have the players he wants.

Sounders have made enough money for expense not to be an object. If Sigi feels that big spending on a Robbie Keane or a Thierry Henry is what is required, the ownership must give him that.

If Sigi feels that a big name foreign import would disrupt his team harmony, that must also be respected.

A signing must not be made just for the sake of appeasing the fans and giving a false appearance that you are competing financially with, and are as big as club as, the LA Galaxy. Nor must Sigi be denied that big name player merely for the ownership to continue to reap a pecuniary harvest on their initial investment.

We agree unequivocally that Roth, Drew Carey, Adrian Hanauer and the Seahawks deserve to make a profit but so do the fans for all they have invested, and to them that profit is a side that can win this Cup, not merely the cheapestly assembled squad that might possibly have a decent chance of winning it.

The second thing we would like to change in Sigi is an end to the excuse-a-thon.

After almost every defeat, every setback, Sigi would be in a hurry to blame the referee, or blame the conditions, blame the schedule, blame the opponent’s tactics, or blame anyone except himself. But usually the referee. This has to end. Whether the referee was right or wrong.

Only the most gullible component of the Sounders fans now believe in a worldwide conspiracy to stop the Sounders sweeping all before them in a holy and righteous crusade.

Sigi’s consistent blaming of the referee has been largely tolerated by Major League Soccer until he did so, on national television, and within days of a massive fine against Portland’s owner. Twice he has made personal attacks on referees he accused of having a vendetta against him. The $2000 fine was paltry and the refereeing community was not happy.

It is the job of one man in this photo to ensure Sounders win, not all of them
Photo: Denise McCooey

 

The bleating has made the club look ridiculous and frankly they have verged on becoming a figure of fun around the league; a title that was hitherto proudly held further down the I-5 freeway. Last year Cascadia provided MLS with one circus freak show. This year it has been two. Next year it has to be zero.

For Sigi to get another year, there must be a complete end to the post-match blaming of referees. Full stop.

He is not solely to blame for this. This abstinence has to include even in press conferences when journalists press him to comment.

“We didn’t lose because of the referee. What is the next question?” has to be his stock response delivered with dignity.

This also has to include situations such as one earlier this season when he faced irresponsible goading in a post match press conference by Joe Roth, who offered to pay any fine if Schmid would criticise another refereeing performance. To be fair, everyone in the room thought it was amusing at the time but it put Schmid in a ridiculously awkward and unfair position.

On a side note, why is the club majority shareholder asking questions in time reserved for the media? Can you imagine Stan Kroenke turning up at the Emirates and asking Arsene Wenger in an Arsenal FC presser whether he thought Chelsea’s second goal was offside?

Roth may be able to easily pay the paltry fines MLS levies on the Sounders, but the real price is not measured in dollars but in the dignity of the club, and it is fans who predate – and will outlast  – the Hollywood portion of the ownership that will bear that indignity.

Roth may legally own the club but there is more to a football club than shares, investment and dividends. The heart and soul of Sounders FC belongs to the fans and the City of Seattle. Sounders FC is more than a just an amusing though immensely profitable chew toy for Roth.

His reported farewell words of “Fuck You” to the CEO of Galaxy’s shirt sponsor last night in front of several journalists merely underline the need for more dignity and self censorship from the leadership, and that what he genuinely sees as acceptable humour might not universally be accepted as such by others.

Luckily there are immense amounts of commendable restraint and decorum available elsewhere inside the club, and it lies inside the hallowed sanctum of the locker room.

Even when a referee gets it wrong (as he will), Schmid should begin to accept responsibility for what happens on the pitch with the same regularity that the more mature of his players do. So often in the locker room, the mature players Tyrone Marshall, Jeff Parke, Kasey Keller, Brad Evans, Zach Scott, Pat Ianni, Marc Burch, Mike Gspurning have accepted responsibility for a poor performance while Sigi has simultaneously sought to shift it off himself to outside parties.

This is not leadership. This is self-preservation. It has to end.

The fans now deserve a more honest club with the leadership putting less emphasis on contorting the PR narrative to save their own reputations and more on being honest with the supporters. The minority who still swallow the ‘boo hoo us’ spin wholesale is dwindling, as those older fans who always knew it was whitewash are joined in their cynicism by an increasingly knowledgeable fanbase.

Schmid is not solely responsible. Our cry for a little more decorum covers occasional incidents like the public piling in by General Manager Hanauer whose remarks about Ricardo Salazar last month were as intemperate as his remarks about Brian Mullan last year.

Sounders fans deserve a little more honesty from the club
Photo: Gregory Mauch

The whipping up of the fanbase into apoplexy about the injustices of the world has been part of Sounders’ DNA for too long, and it would be unfair to place that solely on Schmid.

It seems to be deliberate club policy. Club ownership don’t have to take every opportunity to pander to the lowest common denominator.

That said, this website has gone on record for defending Adrian Hanauer’s passion for the club and the sport, and will continue to do so.

Sometimes perhaps it just gets the better of his judgment. That is a pardonable sin. We’ve all done it. He has nothing to prove.

However the regular deflection from bad results with a coordinated period of verbal hyperventilation can only mask what is happening on the pitch and the bald truth of the league table for so long.  It’s time for some serious growing up. It’s time treat their supporters with more respect.

But it’s not time to throw the coach overboard. Just steer the ship in a different direction. And be a little more honest with the passengers.

Also See:

Sounders FC Season Review – A Qualified and Qualifying Success

Sounders v LA Galaxy Play-off Photo Gallery

Match Tactical Analysis

Sounders Player Ratings

Sounders v LA Galaxy

 





47 Comments

Comments for Editorial: Sigi should stay but he and the Sounders have to change are now closed.

  1. Agree on all counts. I think Sigi is an excellent coach and his record speaks for itself. His complaints don’t bother me as much as they obviously bother you but they are becoming a problem, especially since they take over the story lines.

    It seems all the great coaches in MLS have something they like to harp on about. I guess with a touch of genius comes that touch of insanity. Sigi has his vendettas. Arena never shuts up about the playing surface. Kreis loves to complain about being a small market and getting no respect.

    Kinnear doesn’t have anything that i can think of, probably just complains about the playoffs being too easy for him at times.

  2. A good article, but I do take exception to the choice of words for “bleating” about the referees. I was there, and watched three major potentially game changing events get blown by the ref. Two corner kicks, and one goal taken away. I hardly think complaining about a lack of quality officiating on the field is “bleating”. The penalty kick is arguable either way, so I won’t count that call in this discussion.

    It does smack of sour grapes, and whining sure, it’s hard to not think something is up when the quality of the referees this year has been so suspect. The open cup was all Salazar, last night was all about this ref. It should not be about the referee. I make no claims of conspiracy, just bad luck, and a poor quality referee who missed major calls last night that decided the game. I’m sure other teams have been on the receiving end of this as well, its not just the sounders. It is hard to stomach no matter who it goes against, but it hurts so much more when it goes against us time after time.

    The sounders lost this series down in LA, but last night the ref took away our chance at redemption.

    • Badger,

      A very well put together and reasoned rebuttal of the article. Here is where I would take small issue with individual points you made. A corner not given is not a ‘game changer’. The inherent assumption is that had Sounders been given a corner, there would have been a goal and so on. You could extrapolate something from throw ins, or wrongly awarded free kicks.

      Re the goal, the linesman got it wrong. It was a close call and there was one (inactive) green shirt in an offside position, but the call was wrong. However, had the goal been awarded, the subsequent 2/3 minutes would have been very different and the next opportunity that did provide a goal does not happen. One could argue that it was not a game changer either due to immediate subsequent events.

      I’ll give you an example of a game changer and it came in the other semi final. Andrew Hainault could have been dismissed for his foul on Pajoy in 45 minutes of Houston v DC United. He wasn’t and scored the equaliser six minutes later. However, nothing that the officials ruled last night had any bearing on who won this tie.

      But the main thrust of the piece was not solely focused on last night. This whining has been an almost permanent feature of every bad result for four years. It seems to be Sigi’s first port of call. And it’s having an unhealthy effect on the soccer learning curve of the newer supporters.

      • The officiating team didn’t have a good game. They had a direct impact in a game where they should have been invisible. I do not mind, and nor should anyone else, complaints about the officiating as long as they are accurate in their observations and assertions.

        It will not get better on it’s own without external input.

        That being said, I think sigi’s frustrations are getting the better of him during these statements. I’d like to see him not make any sort of statement to the press at all until after he sees some replays. I want him to say things like, “Yeah the ref messed up the first offside call pretty badly, and there were some 50-50 fouls and throw ins that went the wrong way that might have resulted in a different scoreline” and less of the insinuations.

      • There are many “woulda-coulda” moments in a match where the officiating is second guessed. We had a legitimate goal taken away from us. If anything, I feel that goal would have fueled them to score the “legit” goal right after and the confidence to snatch another (or 3) even in spite of a PK. Also Badger does have a point, we did score against LA due to a corner kick, having those 2 corner kicks not called gave us 2 less opportunities to attempt to score on them where we are now confident and know we can off of corners and they are now vulnerable. Geiger and Salazar are now pretty universally known for how inconsistent their officiating is here is GREAT example of Geiger taking 3 away from DC. http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2012/08/19/olsen-blasts-ref-dc-draw-it-was-his-show-tonight

        • “Also Badger does have a point, we did score against LA due to a corner kick, having those 2 corner kicks not called gave us 2 less opportunities to attempt to score on them where we are now confident and know we can off of corners and they are now vulnerable.”

          Pretty decent point.

  3. I take issue with the word “bleating” as well. It is worthy of note that though I at root share the same position as the editor(s) here, the way they have been harping on this topic–and in particular the way they choose to speak about it–is swaying me to take a contrary view.

    I think it is fair to argue that neither of last night’s calls were necessarily game changers. Though, one has to allow that by the same reasoning used above, they well COULD have been game changers. As this site itself observed, the PK seemed to take the wind out of sails of the Sounders. I offer in large part this was was because the call seemed to underscore interpreted trend of calls to that point.

    (Yes, the ideal team rises above. An ideal team could triumph over an ACTUAL league conspiracy AND a better team AND a corrupt politician who wants to turn the stadium into a shopping mall AND what have you. I don’t fault a team made of humans for getting frustrated in the practical world.)

    I personally do not like it when “homer” bias blinds fans to fair calls. That is, not every call against the Sounders is a bad call, and I cringe when double-standards are in force. But I can’t imagine enjoying a sport where supporters were stoic about genuinely bad calls. Acknowledging that it is part of the sport–and hoping that in the larger scheme it ultimately evens out–the reason I watch matches instead of simply read scores and stats summaries is because I want to BE ENGAGED. I want the fans around me to be passionate as well.

    It could be that I am running in different circles than the editors, but I am not exposed to the type of behavior that they seem to harp on.

    • Another very good post holding a contrary view to ours. We probably are exposed to different views from different sources.

    • Preach it Gart.

      I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. Yes Sigi complains much too much, but ProstAmerika.com does not have the benefit of absolute moral certitude to continually frame this “Sounders are disrespectful and must sit on their hands and be silent at dinner” narrative. If the owners are getting a kick out of owning a club, well more power to them. I’d rather they throw around some expletives and homerism conspiracy theories than just count their money and tune out.

      It was honor to support Sounders Sunday night. It was a helluva game, and it felt great to believe. If Roth and Hanauer feel that spirit and act a little too mischievous for your taste, maybe invest your rooting interest in a more milquetoast club.

  4. Devil’s Advocate:

    Most agree MLS officiating is poop on a stick. League-wide, most of the time, and as neutral observers. MLS agreed last year, and at least took some baby steps.

    One might say the “bleating” has been the most effective catalyst to change the unassailable referee-is-right-at-all-costs mentality.

    Your article states that usually, Sigi has a point.

    Why must he take this so-called high road?

    Ready, go.

    • I think you make a good point about the high road. Most of Sigi’s complaints are about the general mood or flow of the match. I don’t mind a comment about how a call changed the game or how a lax official let the game get rough and out of control and that effected the play of the field.

      The column is right about Sigi needs to keep the “tin foil hat” type things out though. It’s not a conspiracy. Mistakes are made and bad luck happens. It’s fine to point that out while describing your outlook on the match. Its the vendetta type stuff just makes him sound crazy.

  5. I have no clue what your team preference is or if you have one, but the way this article is written with passive aggressive insults and wordy explanations for simple soccer situations would make one think you go to bed dreaming of Timber Joey and “Rose City Till I Die” chants.

    Given this is a blog based on Cascadia for the most part, I would think the editor would know a little more about Seattle soccer culture. Doesn’t mean you have to understand it, but at least know what you are talking about. Those of us who march to the match and bleed rave green and blue….and yes at times super cyan still and have always viewed Sigi as a hero to our city and out team. His remarks on Salazar were celebrated so much that we actually helped pay for his fine. Our tifo in the final Cascadia match of the year for us featured Sigi and only Sigi and the words “Tonight We Go All In”.

    I am not saying I know every one of the 66,000+ fans that show up when CLink opens that many seats, but I can tell you that regardless of the picture you painted in the article, which makes us out to be the evil villain of the MLS, we still believe in both Sigi and the Sounders and why shouldn’t we be? Our accomplishments in four years both team and attendance are earth shattering, we have become the capitol city for Soccer in the United States and let’s be honest, we not only helped save the league, but also have been the most important piece in bringing the sport to a new level in this country. Only one team gets to win the MLS Cup each year, it’s incredible that any fan of the team or of the sport expects more dominance in a team who is only four years old. Of course we’d love to have the post season road game to RSL in 2011 back, just the same as the road game in LA this post season, but in all reality those are the only two terrible blemishes on a post season record that has for the most part has kept things tight with whoever they face. The lack of post season goals has been a worry, but I think we have proven that is no longer a problem.

    It’s amazing the abuse the Sounders take, the San Jose Earthquake dominated their season and then got blown out – not on the road – but AT HOME in the playoffs, yet announcers afterward said “Please don’t let this one bad game take anything away from the season they had”, Sporting KC wasn’t all too different, but do they get picked apart like the Sounders do?

    We do have a ref problem and we WILL keep letting them know we do, Salazar has been consistently miserable every time he shows his face around us and Geiger hasn’t been much different. Love it or hate it, but Sigi and Hanauer are only joining in with the giant family that is the ECS, to see them defend our feelings that we already had about the refs gave us a feeling of unity after chanting “Salazar Sucks” for 30 minutes after the final home game of the season.

    We as Sounders fans have never been afraid to speak our minds and this has been proven time and again, so with all due respect we don’t need an article like this to tell us what we do and don’t deserve, I think we can handle ourselves just fine.

    • “I have no clue what your team preference is or if you have one, but the way this article is written with passive aggressive insults and wordy explanations for simple soccer situations would make one think you go to bed dreaming of Timber Joey and “Rose City Till I Die” chants.”

      That merely shows how clueless you actually are. I was paying money to watch Sounders FC before you, Joe Roth and the marketers had ever heard of Seattle Sounders. I didn’t read the rest.

      • Well if you have, it’s only because you are older than me, as I have been watching them since the late 80s. Too bad, because I am not the only Sounders fan who feels this way about this article, probably should have read on. Classy remark from an editor though…

        • Ah, now these are the cul de sacs that bother me the most.

          I can guarantee you that my history with the Sounders is shorter than that of either of yours. I attended two (I think) Sounders matches before they joined the MLS. I wasn’t even a season ticket holder until their second year. And just in case I have not dug a deep enough hole, let me add that I have never been a devoted follower of any EPL (or La Liga or Bundesliga) side.

          That said, I will match my value as a supporter and as a credible contributor to a discussion of the Sounders against anyone. Arguments that smack of johnny-come-lately-ism are exercises exclusionary elitism, in my view.

          I have a similar problem with “real students of the sport” argumentum verbosium style comments. No debate, some people have a deeper understanding of tactics and strategy. But there is no spectator sport that does not draw a wide variety of, well, spectators. If someone wants to celebrate the purity of a sport, it is her task to educate those who are there to simply be entertained–not to alienate people who have paid the same amount of money to keep the enterprise together.

          But this comment is getting far from the original post, admittedly.

          • Yes, but it was a valuable reminder to me about the wide range of people that read. Thank you.

      • Isn’t ECS stuck in their 3 little sections down in the South end and the Seattle fan base has expanded explosively with out them….
        When will the whole stadium Pogo?
        Is there flag waving in the upper deck?
        Will we ever see Tifo in another part of the Clink?

  6. Great article. Agree 100%.

    Quick statistical question for you, Editor: how many teams have gone from first year to league winners in four years? I’ll take your word that Sigi won titles before within 4 years, but was that with a completely new team? (yes, I know Sounders weren’t “completely” new, but for all practical purposes going from semi-pro to professional is “new”). I still think 4 years to win the title is a ambitious yet statistically/historically unlikely task, even in the MLS. Hell, I’ll teams that move up from D2 to D1 (EPL) and win the title in 4 years. Any precedents?

    • “Quick statistical question for you, Editor: how many teams have gone from first year to league winners in four years?”

      LL,

      In almost every other league, there is a pyramid and no new side would start in the top division.

      • How about winning league title within four years of joining top division?

        “Almost” is a tricky word in the world of football, as are any statistics in a sport with, what, 20,000 professional teams?

        I believe our favorites Metapan qualify (tiny country, limited divisions). I also heard of a team in Uzbekistan that have achieved that goal (but how many jokes start with “a team in Uzbekistan?”. I think Brujas in Costa Rica are new, but don’t know off-hand. Oh, so much trivia to categorize!

        My point is: I think anyone who criticizes Sigi for failing to win the MLS within four years is not firmly grounded in reality. A good goal, yes, but it takes more than great players and an excellent coach to win a title, it takes a team, and a team is forged with years.

        Just a side point. Excellent article.

  7. On a separate note, can you elaborate on your point: “Sigi must be allowed to have the players he wants”? This sounds like the sort of juicy bit o’gossip that only casual followers of the team aren’t privy. Pray tell… we can keep a secret!

    • Nothing there. I’m saying that this should be the case but there is no insinuation intended that it hasn’t always been.

  8. Editor: I do have a response for you but until you provide us with a working email not a fake one, I can’t communicate it to you.

  9. Also, it should be noted that I heard the referee crew was pelted with bottles and cups as they left the field (I overheard someone saying they saw that, haven’t confirmed it in the media). Sigi’s habit if blaming the referees has the additional consequence of creating an atmosphere of hostility to referees (Salazar was booed before the RSL game even started), and also contributes to the fans’ “ignorance of the rules of the game”, neither of which bodes well for the team.

    • I saw something tossed onto the pitch during the game but not this. I agree though that Sigi’s words do hype up fans into a self-justification for certain types of behaviour, while restating that one is still responsible for one’s own behaviour.

      In high profile matches in other countries, coaches and players are frequently warned and advised by the police to watch what they say and do. It would be tragic if events came to that level in MLS.

      I agree with your last para that Sigi’s invention of new rules contributes to the fans’ “ignorance of the rules of the game”. It ain’t helping.

      • After the game, when Alonso was arguing with the ref, (gaining a yellow/red), and as the ref crew was walking to the exit, there were at least two instances of a water bottle being thrown at the refs.

      • If you don’t speak up about poor execution of the responsibility for refs to call the game fairly you will not see improvement…

  10. I would second the motion that the other issues you sited publicly in your article should be expanded upon publicly in the thread, not in a private email. They are attention grabbing assertions, but I would want to hear the case before I accept them as given.

    I appreciate the article. I’ve been a fan of a lot of hopelessly mediocre teams in my time, and the idea of replacing our coach who got us within striking distance of the championship boggles my mind.

  11. Interesting thing is that in all the discussion about officiating and the reaction thereof, nobody yet has voiced an opinion on whether Sigi should remain at the club for another year. Can I assume everybody agrees he should?

    • Yes, absolutely agree that Sigi should remain another year. Another year at minimum. I don’t even consider it a matter of controversy–the post above is actually the only place* I have even seen the idea of replacing Sigi come up. Lot’s of talk about replacing Fredy M., lately, but no talk about Sigi.

      * Outside of comment threads. But you can see just about ANY position in a comment thread.

  12. Overall I totally agree with the article, although I also agree with some of the others above that the tone of this piece is a little harsh. I’m a big Adrian/Sigi fan; “who would replace him” is about as much argument as I needed for keeping either as well. Regarding club culture, they initially had to, by definition of expansion club, sell themselves as much as possible to create a fan base (expanded USL fan base not sufficient for a 67k venue). They have since, as you mentioned, moved towards self preservation. They should be more concerned about protecting and nurturing what is now a genuine and organic obsession. That is done, as you mentioned, with dignity and resolve, not blame sharing. When you blame others for your problems, you are accepting your own powerlessness.

    • I take that criticism on board. Well delivered and well received.

  13. I want Sigi to stay. I was actually worried that if the team threw another clunker out there in the second leg, that Joe Roth would basically fly off the handle and want a different coach and then we’d have “mutual agreement on separation, philosophical differences” and all that baloney.

    Remember back to the debacle against Man U and how mad Joe Roth was then, it wasn’t “entertaining” and we looked silly internationally I believe was the basic gist of it. And we had lost the last game of this season to LA, which was exciting, but the Sounders couldn’t find the net. Imagine Joe was looking to put one over on his LA counterparts in the first leg of the playoffs and the Sounders look absolutely awful and aren’t at all “entertaining”, so he’s probably embarrassed up in that suite with his buddies (conjecture, don’t know if he was there). If they had been shut out on Sunday, they would have ended the season with 1 goal in their last 5 matches, which wouldn’t have been “entertaining”. While I agree it wouldn’t have been entertaining, I think there is more to the thinking of Joe Roth than just the football side of things.

    Sigi’s position could still be in jeopardy even after the 2-1 win, In Rothworld, entertainment value = $. He may seek a higher paid foreign coach, instead of springing for a player or two of more lofty talent, of which, players would be more useful.

    Sorry, I know I haven’t really given any reason for Sigi to stay, but I don’t think you can cut the cord this early. It takes a while to build a core of players and the Sounders are still adding and subtracting trying to put that together. It may appear they have that core now, but I don’t think they are there yet.

    They may have finally found a combo up top, it took 4 years to finally get to that point, but will Montero still be here next season and is Estrada good enough to be the complement to Johnson? On defense, the outside positions are still in flux…… I don’t know how long they will keep Johansson, Gonzalez is getting older, and who knows what they’ll do with Burch after his on camera silent comments. Mauro is still getting older and more fragile, so they need to find another playmaker if they aren’t going to keep Tiffert.

    I think it would be a bad idea to change coach while you still you still have all this going on. OK, now I’ll collapse due to lack of breath.

    • You verbalised my fears pretty well Max. Let’s hope we don’t prove to be mystics.

    • Joe Roth is loud, rude, over-the-top, and at times obnoxious. He’s also a pretty smart guy. He may be noisy but I’ve seen no evidence he is the type of owner to over step his bounds and dictate anything about what goes on on the field. He wants to win but he seems to he the guy that will hire good people and let them run the show.

      I hope anyways. Sigi deserves to stay.

    • This is an interesting point, I suppose I have been considering the Sounders as a *business* a success with better-than-expected returns thus far. So I have not been that concerned about Roth. I figured that beyond a few colorful appearances we would not have to worry about him until, say, after the first year there was a solid dip in attendance. Or after a year or two of plateau, at least. Max makes some convincing arguments why Roth may not be so patient.

  14. I think it’s pretty clear that Sigi should stay, I don’t see many folks here or elsewhere saying otherwise. I also think the team has much bigger fish to fry than Sigi’s post-game comments on officiating. If blaming the referees for bad results disqualified teams for championships,Sir Alex Ferguson wouldn’t be where he is, and as long as the team performs on the field, Sigi can complain to his heart’s content.

  15. Whoever asked… Chicago Fire won MLS in their first year.

  16. Sigi can complain about the refs all he wants.. It doesn’t seem to be working as they keep on bringing bad call after bad call.

  17. Well since no one else wants to say it, I will. I want Sigi out. We have far too good a group of players which is rare in MLS to not try something different. We may not end up being better off with someone new, but I don’t think we have anything to lose by bringing someone else in. He’s been out coached 3 years running in the games that matter (I put significant more value behind playoff matches over playing home games during US Open Cup), that I feel that it is time for a change. Maybe I would feel different if this had been a close series, but losing 3-0 two years in a row is enough for me. I don’t understand how more people aren’t of the mindset that his time is up and are willing to accept what happened as okay and assume we’ll just do better next year.

  18. (I was going to make a comparison between Sigi and Roth’s movies, but his filmography is high on budget, low on quality, which isn’t the comparison I wanted to make).

    I wanted to say, “Roth upset with Sigi for not winning the MLS Cup is like him calling “Snow White and Huntsman” a failure for not winning the Academy Award for Best Picture…” but that’s not a good analogy.

    Sigi’s done a great job; it’d be foolish for cutting him for losing to LA; his successes this year far outweigh his misstakes. Keep him.

    • On second thought, what’s Pep Guardiola doing these days? He’d be a suitable replacement.

  19. I have been In Sigi Schmids shoes at the Sounders? In 1980 in a tough talented NASL we got to the Conference Final v LA,we lost 3-0 in LA! Game 2 in Kingdome somehow like Sigi I got an amazing effort from a good team who wanted to win for the wonderful Sounders fans,over 30,000 showed up we won 4-0 in a perfect performance,could have been the same score v LA last Sun, lady luck did not bounce to kindly for this team? In 1980 stupid NASL rules meant instead of winning the series on aggregate goals like FIFA rules we tied a mini game and lost on PKS? This game last Sunday was also heartbreaking especially for Sigi,fans and players, I am very proud of Sigi,FO,fans and players,Onward and upwards I say and thank you for a great year? Sigi Schmid is the best and most genuine honourable coach in MLS,hope he is here for many years? Look around MLS almost all would swap situations with Seattle. Sincerely,Alan Hinton

    • Well said Alan Hinton!!! I grew up watching the NASL Sounders in the Kingdome, was at the game that you speak of and I am a true fan of yours. Sunday was a tough game for everyone…Sigi, the players and the fans. I personally think we have accomplished a lot in the 4-years we have been in the MLS. As Alan said, “look around MLS, almost all would swap situations with Seattle”…in a heartbeat!

    • Ach Alan, you’re just saying that because you’re a Sounder.

      Give me Dominic Kinnear anyday. Of course, I could be just saying that because he’s a Scotsman.

  20. Follow up with your comments about referees. Refs have not been good in MLS I am very sad to say that. I believe refs should ref a good game and keep control with the powers they have but many fail to impliment rules in a fair manner. Diving,faking,Italian arm salutes,screaming at refs plus open laughter has to be stopped? Beckham,Magee,Shea all tried or hit ref with kicking ball at them. So new ex English EPL ref Pater Walton has an immense task of educating refs and I hope it is possible,I have my doubts? Refs have had some bad games on both sides of the ball this season. Almost impossible for coaches and players to keep their cool when a clear error on a big play is denied. Very frustrating when everyone has worked so hard to be beaten because of ref errors.

  21. I’ve said that least 3122438 times. SKC was here…