MLS Spotlight: Sigi Schmid's long run in Seattle is over

Sigi Schmid, the only coach the Seattle Sounders have ever had in their eight MLS seasons, is out. Schmid won MLS titles with the LA Galaxy (2002) and Columbus (2008) but could not lead the Sounders to one MLS Cup final. He leaves with a 6-12-2 record in 2016 and the Sounders in ninth place, unlikely to make the playoffs for the first time.

Brian Schmetzer, who coached the Sounders in the USL and became Schmid's assistant when the club moved to MLS, will take over as interim coach.

"Sigi Schmid has been an invaluable member of Sounders FC since the club's MLS launch, leading our organization to numerous trophies and a consistent winning culture for seven seasons," said Sounders FC owner Adrian Hanauer. "Sigi departs the club with our utmost respect and gratitude for his years of service. Ultimately, the club and Sigi agreed that a change was needed at this time, but Sigi's legacy will always be a part of our history. He has my sincere appreciation for all that he committed to our team and community."

Schmid is the only coach to have worked more than 500 regular-season MLS matches. He leads the league with 228 regular-season victories and his 26 playoff wins are second in MLS history behind only Bruce Arena's 30. He departs with a 115-79-56 record in 250 games at Seattle. Only two other coaches of MLS expansion teams have even coached 100 or more games.

Schmid led the Sounders to U.S. Open Cup titles in each of their first three MLS seasons (1999-2001) and they won a fourth, tying the Chicago Fire for the most Open Cup championships by an MLS club. The Sounders also won the MLS Supporters' Shield in 2014. Before becoming an MLS coach, Schmid led alma mater UCLA to three national titles (1985, 1990, 1997). He also coached the USA twice at the Under-20 World Cup, the second time in 2005 between his tenures with the Galaxy and Crew.

The Sounders have never had a losing record but slumped badly in 2016. The final straw was a 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday when they were outshot, 19-1. Their one shot tied an MLS record for the fewest shots in a game.

Right before the start of the season, star Obafemi Martins left for China. It was a loss from which the Sounders could not recover. Martins scored 40 goals in three MLS seasons -- including -- nine of MLS Goals of the Week -- but on top of that his playmaking and combination play with Clint Dempsey were the keys to the Seattle attack. Indeed, the two most productive seasons of Martins' career were in 2014 and 2015.

Schmid was almost removed after what then-majority owner Joe Roth termed a "horrible" end to the 2013 season and was retained after the 2015 playoffs when they beat the defending champion LA Galaxy in the play-in game before falling to FC Dallas in the conference semifinals.

"I want to thank Seattle Sounders FC for the opportunity to lead this club over the past eight years, with particular gratitude to Adrian Hanauer, Joe Roth and the rest of the club's ownership group. I'd also like to thank my coaches and technical staff for the support they've given me, and most importantly I want to thank my players for their tremendous effort throughout the years," said Schmid. "I'm proud of the success we've achieved in winning five major trophies in Seattle, qualifying for the postseason for seven-straight seasons. My only disappointment is that we were unable to bring home an MLS Cup to our tremendous fans, who have always been supportive through good times and bad. In closing, I want to thank the Sounders FC organization, the club's fans and the city of Seattle for this amazing run."
9 comments about "MLS Spotlight: Sigi Schmid's long run in Seattle is over".
  1. Paul Stierle, July 26, 2016 at 7:56 p.m.

    Thank you Sigi for all you have done for the progress in soccer and will be an inspiration for years to come. From playing with you in AYSO, to UCLA, LA Galaxy. Columbus, and for pioneering again in Seattle. I hope you breathe in a little and enjoy and look back on your journey before you start moving forward. The Stierle family have always been a fan. Thanks for your friendship to us and so many others. The game of soccer in America has been enriched because of you.
    Cowboy Buck

  2. R2 Dad, July 26, 2016 at 8:11 p.m.

    Management sells the one commodity last year the soccer world has been overpaying for this year, and doesn't replace like for like--just to pocket a few bucks. Then Sigi is left to pick up the pieces. Add typical MLS turnover, and you've got reversion to the mean. It will not be possible to replace those Martins goals any time soon. Good thing there isn't relegation, Seattle--Sounders management would have to literally pay the price for their missteps. But they'll get a free hall pass until they can figure out what to do. That could take years.

  3. Bob Ashpole, July 26, 2016 at 10:59 p.m.

    Always, the coach is the one that gets replaced.

  4. John Mcdermott, July 27, 2016 at 7:27 a.m.

    I predict he won't be idle very long. I also think he'd make a good replacement for Klinsmann, whenever that might become necessary.

  5. trebor gt, July 27, 2016 at 9:04 a.m.

    Doesn't look like Martens move worked out for anyone. His stats in China are less than impressive and they have used him as a sub for the most part. Shame all around on this one. Penny wise, pound foolish.

  6. John Soares, July 27, 2016 at 11:29 a.m.

    While not his biggest "style" fan. I like Sigi.. a lot and you certainly can't argue with his record. He was successful at UCLA, most wins in MLS history, MLS cup with the Galaxy and Columbus as well as several trophies in Seattle. While he takes the hit. This one is not (or should not have been)on him. Lagerwey came in to take one of the better teams in the country to the top. Instead... so far he has failed miserably. Yes there have been injuries and the Martins departure. Yet nothing was done to replace him or improve the team. This one falls on management. To add insult they announced the signing of a new DP the same they fired the coach. Sigi deserved better and so do the Sounders fans.

  7. Ric Fonseca, July 27, 2016 at 11:48 a.m.

    Sigi, mi querido amigo, sorry but you sure as heck deserve better than this! I am in Mexico City as I read this article, and all I can say is that it is the organization's loss and as usual you will land on your feet and will - as always - have the last laugh. We go back together many years ('71) and I wish you the very best!!! See ytou soon back in So Cal!!! Ric F

  8. Paul Amato, July 27, 2016 at 4:03 p.m.

    There is no way to replace Martins, like for like. My suspicion is that a payday called Martins away. I don't blame him. As an athlete, you only have so many years to get paid for the abuse you put your body through and you pay the price physically for the rest of your life. As a Sounders fan, it has been a difficult year and I don't think anyone is to blame, ebb and flow of franchises. We will get better.

  9. Wooden Ships replied, July 28, 2016 at 2:16 p.m.

    Rightly succinct Paul.

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