It was just Monday when a cloud of uncertainty formed over the Seattle Sounders after general manager and part owner Adrian Hanauer said the club would take its time to assess head coach Sigi Schmid’s future.
Before the week was out, Hanauer and the club apparently got the answers they were looking for and didn’t hesitate to issue a press release and hold a press conference Thursday to confirm that Schmid would indeed be retained for 2014.
The MLS coaching legend was seemingly on shaky ground for the first time with the club he’s led in all five years of its MLS history after Hanauer’s comments following a disappointing season that ended last week in the Western Conference Semifinals.
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A two-hour meeting between ownership and Schmid on Tuesday was enough for both sides to feel comfortable with maintaining the relationship.
“I think in that meeting we heard that Sigi has the same commitment to the tough decisions ahead,” Sounders majority owner Joe Roth said in a media conference call. “The kind of soccer we want to play and the identity that we want our team to represent and represent it for our brand and our fans.
“What I was looking for was a two-hour face to face with the coach and to voice my opinion and hear his response to make sure we're on the same page,” Roth continued. “I felt once we got past that I didn't feel there was a point waiting longer. The decision was to keep him on and keep him on with full support. And every day you wait, you allow people to be skeptical, cynical or uncertain.”
Roth admitted to being both “horrified” and “terrified” at the late-season slide in which the Sounders slumped to a 1-6-3 finish that included a pair of losses to the Timbers in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Even after the worst finish in the franchise’s five-year MLS history, Roth said he hadn’t even started to mull possible replacements.
At the same time, Schmid was not given an extension.
“I happen to think that when you look at the players in the NBA, NFL or baseball playing out the last year of their free-agent contracts, somehow they hit more home runs and score more points,” Roth said. “And I think it's good. It's not a trial. It's not. He's too esteemed a coach to be on trial.
“We just need to have the same fire in our belly that the fans have. If we can muster up the same passion that the fan base has, we'd be champions of the world and that's what we're requiring going forward.”