[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Three days after Seattle general managerAdrian Hanauerleft open the status of head coachSigi Schmid during a conference call with reporters, Sounders principal ownerJoe Roth cleared up any uncertainty.
Schmid still has a job.
Hired by Sounders after winning the 2008 MLS Cup title with Columbus, Schmid has guided Seattle to playoff appearances in each of his five seasons in charge but has yet to reach the championship game. Its 2013 season ended with a 5-3 aggregate loss to archrival Portland in the Western Conference semifinals.
Five days after the Sounders were eliminated, Schmid sat down with the club's ownership team in Los Angeles, where Roth lives, to evaluate the season.
“I think in that meeting we heard that Sigi has the same commitment to the tough decisions ahead,” Roth said in a media conference call. “The kind of soccer we want to play and the identity that we want our team to represent and represent it for our brand and our fans."
Roth said there was no point waiting around once he heard what he wanted to hear about the season, in particular the late-season collapse that saw the Sounders finish the regular season with a seven-game winless streak.
“What I was looking for was a two-hour face-to-face with the coach and to voice my opinion and hear his response to make sure we're on the same page,” he added. “I felt once we got past that I didn't feel there was a point waiting longer. The decision was to keep him on and keep him on with full support. And every day you wait, you allow people to be skeptical, cynical or uncertain.”
Roth said every aspect of the Sounders' organization will go under the microscope.
"I think the job that Adrian and I have in front of us is to evaluate every single piece of the team: coach, coaches, medical staff, players, ball boys — you name it," he said. "I just wanted to hear from Sigi and, at the same time, have him hear what my expectations of the team are.”
Hanauer said the assumption was that entire coaching staff would return, but he would not comment on specific player moves.
Rumors of Eddie Johnson'spossible departure started swirling shortly after elimination by the Timbers, and numerous outlets have reported that he’s being actively shopped around.
He’s made no secret of unhappiness regarding his salary of $156,000 and the Sounders don’t appear willing to increase that figure significantly or perhaps upgrade him to DP status, which would mean replacing one of the three slots currently occupied by Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Mauro Rosales.
"There are going to be 100 of these rumors in the next few months," said Hanauer. "Some of them will end up being true and some of them won’t end up being true."