Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid out as Sounders head coach

Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid and the team have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced Tuesday.
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid and the team have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced Tuesday. Staff file, 2011

The Sigi Schmid era with Seattle Sounders FC is over.

The Sounders announced Tuesday that Schmid and the club have mutually agreed to part immediately. Longtime assistant and former USL Sounders manager Brian Schmetzer will be the interim head coach.

“We’ve not given up on making the playoffs, and help is on the way,” general manager and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey said. “We’re optimistic that we can change this thing positively and move forward this year.”

The help that Lagerwey alluded to is Nicolas Lodeiro. The native of Uruguay, an attacking midfielder, played most recently for Argentina’s Boca Juniors club and has 42 caps for the Uruguay national team.

“It’s no secret, though it’s not necessarily the worst-kept secret we’ve had, but Nicolas landed at the airport today,” Hanauer said. “We have some i’s to dot and some t’s to cross, but we fully anticipate him joining our squad.”

Schmid, the winningest coach in league history and the only coach the Sounders have known since joining MLS in 2009, led Seattle to the playoffs in each of his seven full seasons. This year, however, the Sounders are lingering in ninth place and out of the playoff picture with a 6-12-2 record and 20 points.

“We agreed it was a reasonable time to part ways,” Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer said. “That takes absolutely nothing away from what he has done for this club. He won a bunch of trophies for us, he won a lot of games, he had a lot of success. But the results just weren’t there this year.”

Schmid led the Sounders to four U.S. Open Cup titles and the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2014. That success did not translate into the playoffs, as the team never reached the MLS Cup. Overall, the Sounders were 115-79-56 in his tenure and rank second in the MLS in winning percentage during that span.

“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,” Schmid said in the release.

“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.”

On Sunday, the Sounders lost, 3-0, at Sporting Kansas City and managed just one shot in the game. That came after a 4-2 loss in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match on Wednesday when the team led, 2-1, late in the second half.

“The results obviously have not been great, and the performance in Kansas City was maybe a low point,” Hanauer said. “There’s no magic stopwatch on this that tells us when the right time is.”

Schmetzer’s first game in charge will be on Sunday when Seattle hosts the Galaxy. The Sounders will start that game 10 points out of the last Western Conference playoff spot.

Schmetzer has been affiliated with the Sounders at various times as either a player or a coach since signing out of high school with the then-North American Soccer League franchise in 1980. Prior to their joining MLS in 2009, he was head coach of the USL Sounders from 2002-08, winning league championships in 2005 and 2007.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” said Schmetzer, who was named Schmid’s top assistant in December 2008, just six days after Schmid was hired. “You lose a guy you have a lot of respect for. But at the end of the day, it’s an opportunity to try to impart some pride back in the club and try to make sure we win games.”

Schmid previously won the MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew SC in 2008 and the LA Galaxy in 2002. A two-time MLS Coach of the Year and recent National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, Schmid has a career 228-167-113 record.

As a college coach, Schmid won three national titles (1985, 1990, 1997) at UCLA. He twice coached the U.S. U-20 national team.

“It’s been a privilege to work with a legend like Sigi and I’ve learned a lot from him. We thank him for his many years of excellent service to this club,” said Lagerwey.

The Schmid Era

A look at the Sounders under coach Sigi Schmid:

Year

W-L-D (MLS)

MLS playoffs

Other

2009

21-7-11

First-round loss

Won U.S. Open Cup

2010

14-10-6

First-round loss

Won U.S. Open Cup

2011

18-7-9

First-round loss

Won U.S. Open Cup

2012

15-8-11

Second-round loss

2013

15-12-7

Second-round loss

2014

20-10-4

Second-round loss

Won U.S. Open Cup

2015

15-13-6

Second-round loss

2016

6-12-2

Ninth place (top six make playoffs)

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