Fan Op-Ed: MLS Cup or Sigi has to go

Posted in Fan Culture, Seattle

Published on October 23, 2013 with 4 Comments

Sigi, the Reality ... and the Dream

Sigi, the Reality … and the Dream

Sounders FC season ticket holder Ryan Scally has seen, and heard, enough excuse making from the Sounders Head Coach.

It’s time to deliver – or leave, he concludes.

Fan Op-Ed: MLS Cup or Sigi has to go

by Ryan Scally

As the Sounders’ fifth season in Major League Soccer churns to a close, I have allowed myself some time to take a step back and view the current state of affairs from a completely emotional and perhaps irrational fan’s standpoint.

My conclusion is that if the Sounders do not win an MLS Cup this season, the Front Office will be left with no option but to dismiss Sigi Schmid as coach.

I am not one that normally rushes to make drastic conclusions. There are seven steps that I go through. Only four of these involve alcohol so keep your snarky comments to yourself. Below I invite you to take a tour into the dark cavern that is my current state of mind. I will do my best to break down my thoughts and reasoning for showing Sigi Schmid the door.

After the success of the first three seasons, including strong attendance, making playoffs in consecutive seasons, and winning three consecutive U.S. Open Cups, the consensus among many Sounder fans was that the next step needed to be an MLS Cup. After making a deep run into the CONCACAF Champions League tournament and coming up short, the Sounders Front Office made a commitment to the title.

Just this past offseason the Front Office went out on a limb and made several moves that were deemed necessary to catapult the team to the next level. One of these moves was the loan of Fred Montero. I had always felt that there was some sort of a “misunderstanding’ between Sigi Schmid and his star forward.

After the signing of Eddie Johnson last season, it seemed almost a formality that Montero was sent away. While I didn’t harbor any real concern at the time of his loan, I have since realized that this may have been one of Schmid’s many tactical errors over the past few seasons.

Scally: Was Tiffert Released too Quickly?

Scally: Was Tiffert Released too Quickly?

The second move in my opinion was the quick u-turn on Christian Tiffert.

While Tiffert never showed the offensive threat that many fan’s had hoped for, I noticed that he provided a very stable presence in the central midfield.

The central midfield is an area of great concern and I will get back to that in a bit. Montero and Sigi may have never seen eye to eye, but Fredy’s knack for scoring clutch goals is something that has been lacking this season for the Sounders.

After the release of Tiffert and the loan of Montero, the Front Office knew that they needed to make a splash. After a long courtship the Sounders signed a dynamic striker in Obafemi Martins. Martins’ athleticism and speed was billed as potentially “game changing” and early indications were that he did indeed provide an offensive punch.

With Martins and Johnson as forwards, newly signed defensive star Djimi Traore shoring up the back line, and the addition of the speedster right back Deandre Yedlin, how could the Sounders not be seen as a viable threat? Strong defense, strong offense, speed, and a tall handsome Austrian goalkeeper, how could this not be our year?

Unfortunately trouble was obvious from the very beginning of the season. Plagued with injuries and uninspired performances the Sounders struggled to only win four of their first 11 games. Martins was constantly missing from action with a wide variety of injuries. He almost seemed as if he were here on vacation and would drop in from time to time to play 60 minutes or so if his schedule allowed.

As previously mentioned, the midfield has been in shambles most of the season.

Poor passing and the inability to keep the ball with any regularity has proved to be difficult for much of the season. Despite the nagging injuries and the lackluster midfield play, the Sounders were able to win 11 games between June and September. Perhaps the shining beacon of hope is Eddie Johnson. He has proven to be a threat in the majority of the games he has played in this year.

The big moment that most people will be looking back at was the signing of Clint Dempsey. Here is arguably the best American soccer player in the world. Still in his prime and he is coming to the Sounders. My initial reaction was that his signing would provide much needed relief to a struggling mid-field and allow Johnson to become an even larger threat up top, not to mention provide a wealth of international experience.

However, quite the opposite has happened.

Perhaps it is best summed up by the saying that my mom used yell at me as a child when I would inadvertently knock over something and smash it into smithereens, “This is why we can’t have nice things!!”

Seattle was loaded with talent and yet when late September rolled around we inadvertently sat on our balls. Suddenly the team had returned to the form of this past spring. Defensive disaster after disaster, the benching of our tall handsome goalkeeper, and the inability to complete a pass to an individual in the same colored kit.  Sneaking in to the playoffs with the help of a San Jose and Los Angeles draw proved to be our savior.

I have heard several opinions of what the reason for recent poor performances could be. These include:

  • The Sounders’ defensive players are republicans and were refusing to play in efforts to overturn Obamacare
  • The Mariner Moose licked all of the Sounders boots and has cursed the team for eternity
  • The Sounders had their talent stolen by cartoon aliens as demonstrated in the 90’s classic movie “Space Jam”
  • The coaching.

After mulling over these opinions and giving strong consideration to the alien talent stealing one, I have decided that it must be the coaching. For years now the Sounders have been suffering embarrassing lopsided defeats in games that are billed as “tests”. Well, if this is true, then the Sounders must be products of the United States educational system because they are failing these test miserably.

Two years ago the blow out defeat to RSL in the first leg of the playoffs. Last season a repeat of the same scenario, only this time to the Galaxy.  Time after time the Sounders are not able to be competitive when most matters.

One of my favorite games to play is “What Lineup Will Sigi Pick Today?”

On a weekly basis Schmid has fielded different lineups. Some of this is caused by unavoidable issues like national team duty or serious injury. However, I can’t imagine that other teams don’t have to deal with these same issues and I don’t seem to get a list of excuses from them.

IMG_5702

Sounders are not the only club to lose star players to international duties

Sigi cannot possibly in good conscience say that there is not enough talent or experience on this squad to make a deep playoff run. At some point if an army keeps losing repeatedly, someone will eventually blame the general. The Front Office has tried to show their support by stating that this is not a coaching issue, I strongly disagree. At this point I truly believe that Sigi must win an MLS cup in order to keep his job.

It is time for Sigi to demonstrate his coaching genius and make a run to the cup. The time for excuses has come and gone. He needs to get along with team members not named Brad Evans and he needs to find a way to motivate his players to play for him. Simply stating that a big game should provide enough motivation for the players is not an acceptable excuse.

Your job as manager is to provide the motivation if necessary. Give a fiery speech, throw chairs, punch a mascot, or do whatever it takes. But whatever tactic he has been using thus far simply is not working and I feel that it will ultimately cost him his coaching job.

In conclusion, Sigi has been given plenty of talent, top notch training facilities, a wealthy ownership group, and an amazing fan base. If they come up short once again he needs to fall on his sword.

Previous Articles:

For Schmid Against Schmid
What We Think Editorial- The Case for Sigi Schmid Snakebit Sigi: Running out of Excuses
Sounders Qualify for Post Season, Set New Records Sounders Losing Their Way
Fan Op-Ed: Calls for Sigi to Step Down are Preposterous Fan Op-Ed: MLS Cup or Sigi has to go




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4 Comments

Comments for Fan Op-Ed: MLS Cup or Sigi has to go are now closed.

  1. I love watching the flounders flounder. Everyone up in Seattle is full of excuses. What ever happened to blaming the players for sucking it up. Oh and your reference about you being an army is insulting. Enjoy getting blown out by LA and then Colorado again!

    • “Everyone up in Seattle is full of excuses.”

      You need to pay a little more attention before you generalise. A large number of fans and independent writers are sick of Sigi’s excuses and have said so.

      Kyle Alm: ‘Snakebit’ Schmid Running Out Of Excuses

      “your reference about you being an army is insulting.”

      You may well be the most easily offended football supporter on the planet in that case. At least Don Garber insists that that the ‘A’ stands for asshole before he gets his knickers in a twist.

  2. Agree with this article more than the previous one. Still a not confused why more people don’t talk about the desperation apparent in sigi’s coaching of late. Couple examples would be leaving your star on the pitch sixty minutes after he takes a fall / motions to his shoulder / mouths the words “its $#%*@d”. Or leaving card a card accumulating happy Zack Scott on after a early yellow card and pulling hurtado off at halftime, only to see zach thrown off 20 minutes later. Or trading a semi productive carrasco for a seemingly lost moffat because he’s “one of sigis guys. Or playing casket instead of buech at LM in a critical game in Dallas. We hear nameslike Price and Porter lauded for their adjustments, which to me has always been the essence of coaching in any sport. Sigi’s apparent struggles with the core of his job responsibility is the main issue I have with him, and at the moment, is why I feel the game nay have passed him by, and its time to move on. Here in Seattle we have great respect for his accomplishments in the past, but as many managers and coaches have said: “its not a question of if you get fired, but when.”

  3. Is EJ going to factor for the Sounders during the Playoffs !!!?

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