Sigi Schmid said an interesting thing today. He called his Sounders an expansion team.
That might not sound so interesting, since it's a simple fact with no real debate around it. However, it's a fact that's seldom acknowledged by the Sounders or their coaches or their front office. Far more often, I have heard players and coaches and administrators say that they don't think of Sounders FC as an expansion team.
Yet today, Schmid said it not only to the media, but he said it to his team -- apparently trying to put some perspective on a 1-2-5 run of results since their 3-0 start.
He admits it's a tricky balance he's trying to maintain.
"We don't want to ignore reality, and we don't want to think of ourselves as an expansion team, in the sense that we want to be in the hunt for the playoffs," he said. "I read somewhere that it said Chicago's record through 11 games was 6-5, but that was also in the days of the shootout. So you've really got to look at what their record would have been if you take out the shootout wins or losses; then you get a truer reflection of what their actual point total would have been."
OK, let's look: After 11 games in 1998, the Fire was 6-5, which would be worth 18 points by today's allocation. However, one Fire win and one Fire loss came by shootout. So, if those would simply have gone into the record books as draws -- and awarded the one point they would be worth today -- the Fire would be 5-4-2. That would be good for 17 points, and therefore dead even with the Sounders.
However, if the Sounders want to retain that distinction they had better shift into a higher gear fast, because the 1998 Fire swept games 12 through 19 ... all victories, all in regulation. And then, of course, they went on to win the MLS Cup.