We got a few minutes with Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey today. He was -- natrually -- asked about the availability of Jason Kreis, a good friend with whom he worked with at Real Salt Lake. But what I found most interesting is his acknowledgement that the Sounders’ off-season course could be considerablly affected by how the team does Sunday in Dallas, and perhaps beyond in the conference finals and perhaps MLS Cup:
On Jason Kreis’ departure from New York City FC, and whether there could be a place for him -- coaching or otherwise -- in the Sounders’ organization:
Jason’s my friend, separate and apart from any kind of employment relationship. Long before we worked together in Salt Lake, we went to college together for four years. We played in the pros together for three. I lived at his house in New Orleans when we were still in school and I was doing my internship that I had to do to graduate that was the equivalent of a senior paper. Worked at his mom’s law first. J and I are friends, J and I talk all the time. It’s just separate. The work stuff is the work stuff, and I almost look at it more like we happened to work together for seven years like you do with your friends from time to time. Look, I came here I knew mostly of what I was getting into. I’ve really enjoyed working with Sigi. He’s a guy who’s been inducted into the Hall of Fame, he’s had really the best regular season record in MLS history. I’m happy, I’m happy with the direction of the club, and I’m happy with Sig, I’m happy with the staff. It would have been disingenuous of me – and don’t get me wrong, I read the conspiracy theories to the contrary – but I think I’m a decent human being, and I think it would have been disingenuous to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to take this job and I’m coming here secretly to tip over the apple cart and overthrow everything. I don’t think I’ve done that so far. Obviously you guys can make that judgment. I don’t plan to change the approach. Look: All this stuff goes away if we win. That’s the simple answer in sports over and over and over again. Will people speculate if we lose? Yeah. Nothing that I say is going to change that. And if we win, no one will, and everyone will forget about it and move on. And hopefully we can win some stuff this year and everybody will be writing the articles about the great partnership between Sigi and Garth and the whole rest of the staff. That’s my goal.
On if playoff results could affect off-season plans:
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I would argue it does. Certainly if you lose in the wild card round to the Galaxy for the fourth time in a row vs. win MLS Cup, those are radically different outcomes. If you lose in the first round to a young hungry team, I think you start to have conversations about, well it’s not just Dallas: It’s Columbus and it’s New York and it’s Vancouver, and you have a number of these teams that are kind of going to kind of young, fully integrated academy-to-first-team approach, highly planned, and you’d say it would be foolish of us not to consider some of the things they’re doing. But again, I think we’re doing a lot of things right here. I’m hopeful we’re going to win on Sunday. Don’t know that. When I read the statistics, I think we have about a 55 percent chance. For everybody who worries about the home-and-away, and the unbalanced, it’s basically dead even going into the second leg. The simplest thing by far is for us to win the game. We’re capable of winning the game. If we do and we advance, then people don’t worry about this and there’s less speculation. But look, Montreal is a lot older than Columbus. DC is a lot older than New York. To some degree, Portland is older than Vancouver. So you do have a little bit of this clash of generations if you look at this round of playoffs. So if it went all one way, it’d be kind of stupid to ignore that and say we shouldn’t take that into account. More often than not it ends up split and you say, ‘OK, there’s not a whole lot there,’ you’ve got to figure out what’s right for you. But those are off-season conversations to plan and think about.
On if coach Sigi Schmid’s status is considered something yet to be determined:
I’m not going to comment on that other than to say I enjoy working with Sigi. I had a great year with Sigi. I don’t even know if that’s my call.