SEATTLE — Despite a late-season swoon that cost them playoff positioning and a shot at the Supporters’ Shield, the only coach in the Seattle Sounders’ MLS history will be back next season.
Sigi Schmid will return as the Sounders coach in 2014, the team announced Thursday morning. Schmid’s status was revealed in a statement from majority owner Joe Roth after conversations with part-owner and Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer.
Earlier this week, Hanauer indicated discussions about Schmid’s status would take place soon, but that he was unsure when a decision would be reached.
“After a thorough evaluation, there is no question that Sigi Schmid is the right man to lead our club,” Roth said. “While we are not happy with the way we finished, Sigi’s resume and accomplishments speak for themselves.”
Schmid’s status had been in doubt after the Sounders flopped at the end of the season, going winless in nine of their final 10 games, and were ousted in the MLS Western Conference semifinals by Portland. It capped a roller-coaster season for the Sounders during which some high-profile moves failed to yield anything beyond another early playoff exit.
Despite a roster that featured U.S. national team players Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans, the Sounders were eliminated in the conference semifinals for the fourth time in five seasons. Seattle reached the conference finals in 2012. But despite winning two U.S. Open Cup titles, Schmid has been unable to find the same success in the MLS postseason.
Much of the blame for this season’s late flop has fallen on Schmid, but Hanauer said earlier this week there is plenty of blame to go around.
“Once you make the tournament you give yourself a chance to win the MLS Cup. Sigi has won two MLS Cups and it won’t be long before he does it here in Seattle,” Roth said in his statement. “We continue to strive for excellence and we will do everything we can and give him all the resources possible to make that a reality.”
Schmid, 60, has been the only coach in Seattle’s MLS history. Before coming to Seattle, he coached in Columbus and Los Angeles, winning MLS Cup titles with both franchises. Considering the raucous fan support and resources thrown behind the Sounders, Seattle’s inability to land an MLS Cup title so far under Schmid has been one of the biggest knocks against him.