The Seattle Sounders have a long offseason ahead of them after their penalty kick shootout loss to FC Dallas in the Western Conference Semifinals of the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
But after finding out the team was bringing him back for 2016, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid says he didn’t spend much time engaging in any sort of prolonged self-reflection before he started thinking about next year.
“It took me maybe a day or two to recover [from the loss],” Schmid told reporters at Seattle’s end-of-season media event on Wednesday. “But then my thoughts are always, ‘OK, how do we make this better?’”
If Schmid is to be believed, this offseason figures to be an eventful one, not just for Seattle, but for all of MLS.
Schmid predicts the lead-up to next season to feature the continuation of a philosophical shift with how teams throughout the league put together their rosters, with a greater emphasis on youth on the depth chart.
“This is probably going to be the most eventful offseason in MLS history,” Schmid said. “This is going to be the toughest year for players. I think there’s going to be more middle-income players that are going to get squeezed out at various teams. And I think what you’re going to see with a lot of teams is it’s going to be a group of players supported by a lot of young players underneath.
“For us that’s going to be change. That’s probably going to take place within our roster.”
Speaking with the media in a conference call this week, general manager Garth Lagerwey said he doesn’t feel the need to drastically overhaul the group he has in place, but added that getting younger in some places is a necessary step.
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“I think we are an old team, and over the next couple years we need to get younger,” Lagerwey said. “We are also a good team. So it’s not something where you can necessarily attack and make radical changes.”
Lagerwey said the upcoming offseason figures to be a balancing act between trying to maintain the team’s proven veteran core for another MLS Cup run, while simultaneously focusing on acquiring and developing young talent as the club looks to the future beyond next season.
“We’re tying to build a roster that’s sustainable, while at the same time understanding that given the ages of our best players, we have to take another shot at it next year. We have to try to win MLS Cup,” Lagerwey said. “It’s going to be a balancing act, and it’s going be a work in progress. And I think there will some bumps along the way.”