TUKWILA, Wash. – Don’t expect much to change on Sunday when Brian Schmetzer fills in as Seattle Sounders head coach for the suspended Sigi Schmid.
The two longtime coaches have spent countless hours going over tactics and personnel together the past four years, and now share much of the same mind as Schmetzer prepares to lead the Sounders against FC Dallas (9 pm ET, ESPN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
“I know what he needs, I know what he wants,” said Schmetzer, who was the head coach of the USL Sounders from 2002-08 before accepting a job on Schmid’s staff when the team moved to MLS. “I have a good feel for him. We’re both German. That’s a good starting point. I don’t foresee any kind of issues.”
For his part, Schmid didn’t seem particularly worried about handing over the reins, even if it wasn’t his choice.
“Sometimes we have trouble deciphering whether great minds think alike or fools seldom differ,” Schmid joked. “But I think our thought processes are pretty similar and I'm very confident in his ability to get across the message to the team that he needs to get across to them.”
This will actually be the second time that Schmetzer has filled in for Schmid. Back in 2009, Schmid missed a Sounders game in order to attend his son Kurt’s wedding. Schmetzer helped guide the Sounders to a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo.
Much like that game, Schmid will help with all the preparations, but won’t be able to take part in any gameday decisions.
“He’s always given me the freedom to be who I am as a coach,” Schmetzer said. “He won’t be there on the bench next to me if there’s stuff that happens on the field, I’ll deal with it. I have no problem with that.”
Given the rare day off, Schmid seems intent on having as much fun as MLS rules will allow.
“I'd like to sit in with the ECS and be underneath a tifo or something like that or wave a flag,” Schmid said. “But they say I can't sit in the grandstands, so I'm not allowed to do that or else I would definitely be up there. I don't think I can do the Frankie Hejduk, when he was suspended for me in Columbus, and chug a beer on the back of a truck with the fans outside before the game. I probably wouldn't even be able to chug a beer anymore – I don't know.
“But no, it'd be great. I've never been to the March to the Match, so I figured this might be a good occasion to be able to get out there and see how that is, because it always looks fantastic and exciting.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.