It was a tale of two coaches this week – with Pete Carroll getting that much-anticipated extension with the Seahawks and Sigi Schmid’s time ending with the Sounders.
But the part of Sigi’s departure that puzzles me the most is the timing of the move.
Let me preface this argument by emphasizing how much I respect the Sounders front office, their ownership, and interim head coach Brian Schmetzer. In fact, I hope Schmetzer can prove himself worthy of the full-time gig. And despite a 1-1 draw today, the players clearly responded to the coaching change in a positive way and had a number of chances to win the match.
But to me at least, it was just strange timing – given that Sigi had lamented the lack of reinforcements all season long, and the very same day the Sounders finally brought in their most coveted designated player candidate, Nico Lodeiro – Sigi’s departure took place.
Listen – we don’t have all the facts here, nor do we know the factors that led to what was described as a “mutual parting of ways.” But to me, it’s a shame that a Hall of Fame coach – a man who’s won more games in MLS history than anyone else – didn’t get at least a few weeks to coach Lodeiro and company to see if they could turn things around.
Again, the decision might ultimately be the right one – and I’m not questioning it at all. From the fan perspective at least, I understood both sides: the trophies they’d won with Sigi– the MLS Cups they hadn’t won too.
But based on Garth Lagerwey’s declaration that the postseason was still in play, it’s clear that the Sounders hadn’t reached the point of no return this year. Why pull the trigger now – when help was on the way?
After all, Sigi Schmid bled Rave Green, and to me at least, it was a shame that his goodbye to the fans took place in a bar in Pioneer Square instead of a sold-out stadium. It’s my opinion that seven and a half years with four U.S. Open Cup titles, a Supporters Shield and two Cascadia Cups deserved an appropriate departure – and I’m hopeful and confident that one day, he’ll be granted a proper goodbye at CenturyLink Field.
So we formally thank Sigi for everything he did in Seattle – and we hope the Sounders can turn it around.
I’m also confident Lagerwey will find the right replacement for the job. There’s no doubt they’re certainly big shoes to fill.