Before we reach November, let me start tonight by giving my official endorsement: Regardless of today’s disappointing loss, Brian Schmetzer has earned the head coaching job for the Sounders FC. He's shown more than enough in the last few months to have the interim tag taken away.
Flashback to the end of July, when the team mutually parted ways with Sigi Schmid. The Sounders were in second-to-last place. When Garth Lagerwey addressed the media, a lot of fans scoffed when he said the playoffs were still the main goal. We all assumed the last few months of the season would be devoted to evaluating personnel and starting the search for their new full-time head coach.
Turns out, that head coach is already here. The Sounders are still on the verge of clinching a playoff spot. They’ve played 14 matches with Schmetzer at the helm, and they've only lost two. They've jumped four spots in the standings, making a comeback not many outside that locker room thought possible.
And sure, he inherited Nico Lodeiro at the perfect time. But he's also navigated a season-ending condition to Clint Dempsey, red cards to Brad Evans and Ozzie Alonso, injuries to Andreas Ivanshitz, Alvaro Fernandez and Dylan Remick and international duties for a number of players. He's done it all with the pressure of taking over for a Hall of Fame coach, in an organization he's been a part of since his playing days 36 years ago.
Combine Schmetzer's success over the last three months with his loyalty, passion and hard work for this franchise, and there's not a good reason in my mind why he shouldn't get the full-time job.
Plus – I love co-owner Adrian Hanauer, but I’m not sure he could handle parting ways with both Sigi Schmid and Brian Schmetzer in less than a six-month span!
Ultimately, I’ll respect Lagerwey's decision, but it's my opinion Schmetzer hasn't given him a good reason to go a different direction. A full coaching change often necessitates an entire overhaul in staff, something Lagerwey himself has said he’d prefer not to have.
Brian Schmetzer doesn’t have to be Lagerwey’s hand-picked guy to be the right guy for the job.
And in terms of EBFG and what he’s shown so far, Schmetzer is it.