TUKWILA, Wash. – Brian Schmetzer isn’t much of a “bulletin board material” guy.
Vanney told reporters he wondered if the visitors in the 2017 MLS Cup on Saturday (4 pm ET | ESPN, UniMas, TSN, TVAS) would be “ready for the intensity of an MLS Cup final” following a straightforward path through the Western Conference playoffs.
It’s the type of quote some coaches might use to add fuel to their team’s fire. But Schmetzer insisted he’s not sweating it.
“I’m going to tell you two things on that,” Schmetzer said. “No. 1, Greg’s a good guy and he’s a very good coach. You could say the pressure is on them. There’s no pressure on us. They’re at home, they have the Supporters’ Shield. If he’s saying that to get his guys traction somehow, some way, that’s his business. Greg’s a good guy and a good coach. I got nothing against the quote.”
On one hand, Vanney has a point that the Sounders haven’t exactly been challenged much in this year’s playoffs. Toronto most certainly represent a different level of competition than anyone Seattle dealt with in the West. Since their 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Conference Semifinal series with the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Sounders have been dominant, outscoring Vancouver and the Houston Dynamo 7-0 over their last three playoff matches.
On the other, these Sounders are nothing if not battle-tested in big moments. They are, after all, the league’s defending champions – a distinction they earned by topping the same TFC side at BMO Field in penalty kicks last year.
The opportunity to replicate that feat should be motivation enough for his players, Schmetzer said, regardless of anything else.
“The reason why I don’t have anything against the quote is because if you guys [the media] think or anybody thinks that we need ‘locker room blackboard material’ you guys are sadly mistaken, because my team is ready to go,” Schmetzer said. “I don’t need to put that up on a board. Dempsey, Lodeiro, Ozzie, Jordan, Roman, Stef, all those guys are ready to compete. So that to me was a little bit of side salad there.”