By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
The Seattle Sounders trained Tuesday without coach Sigi Schmid, who was undergoing surgery to partially replace his left knee.
Schmid is expected back at practice Friday. In his absence, assistant coach Brian Schmetzer is presiding over team practices.
Schmetzer has been Schmid’s first assistant since the 2009 expansion season. Before that, he coached the USL Sounders from 2002-2008 and won league championships in 2005 and 2007.
He is a Seattle native, attended Nathan Hale High School and played for the NASL Sounders, the indoor Tacoma Stars and the A-League Sounders. He ended his career with the indoor Seattle SeaDogs in 1996.
“It’s an easy transition with Brian,” sporting director Chris Henderson said. “He does some things different than Sig, but he’s won championships, he (participated) at the highest level as a player and a coach. I think it’s a great opportunity for Brian. … I think he’d be a great head coach in this league one day. We really don’t miss a beat when he takes over.”
Schmid had been planning the surgery for a while. He scheduled it for this week because a break in the MLS schedule keeps the club inactive until July 3, when D.C. United visits CenturyLink Field.
As (Schmid) and I get a little older, I’ve got a hip problem and he’s got a knee problem and between the two of us we might get a half-way usable body,” Schmetzer said.
Henderson said the club is nearing resolution on negotiations to hold on to midfielder Mario Martinez, whose current loan agreement with Real Espana of Honduras expires at the end of this month.
Henderson declined to characterize the state of those negations. However, he acknowledged the result could affect the Sounders’ ability to make a move when the summer transfer window opens July 9.
“We’d have to make some moves in order to do it,” he said. “So those are conversations that we have: whether it’s right for the team and right for us to try to make a push to try to improve the team in the window. (Teams value) key positions up the spine … where impact players can come in.”
Asked about reports of club interest in La Liga central defender David Navarro, Henderson said: “David’s a good player. He’s a guy we watched several times play because he was teammates with (Obafemi Martins at Levante). He’s a move I don’t know if we’ll be able to make or not.”