TUKWILA, Wash. — Brian Schmetzer isn't looking for validation.
The Seattle Sounders boss already has plenty of accomplishments, the latest of which is guiding his side to MLS Cup 2019, when Seattle will host Toronto FC on Sunday (3 pm ET | ABC, Univision, TUDN, TVAS, TSN). It's his third MLS Cup in four years as head coach of the Sounders, already with one trophy on the mantle. Praiseworthy facts they may be, he's content with the adulation he gets away from soccer.
“I get enough respect at home," Schmetzer deadpanned to reporters after training on Wednesday. "My mom loves me, my wife loves me, my dog loves me.”
Still, outside of the four walls of his home, Schmetzer has been underrated. Often overlooked in discussions of the league's top coaches, the longtime figure of soccer in Seattle hasn't gotten his due.
“I’ve seen a lot of reports saying if an NFL manager took their team to three Super Bowls in four years, it would be crazy," fullback Brad Smith said. "So, no, he’s not getting the respect he deserves."
“I don’t read much about how much respect he gets, but he has a ton of respect in our locker room," midfielder Gustav Svensson added. "Just look at what he’s done with this team, he should get a lot of credit.”
After winning the Western Conference again, this year by upsetting heavily favored LAFC on the back of a well-schemed and well-executed tactical plan, Schmetzer and his staff cannot be ignored.
They now turn their focus from shutting down Carlos Vela and LAFC, the league's most pyrotechnic attack led by the 2019 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, to Alejandro Pozuelo and Toronto FC. The gameplan will be vastly different. Seattle had just 31% possession on the road against LAFC and could reasonably expect to have double that figure at CenturyLink Field against Toronto.
Ironically, this year's MLS Cup may be an inverse of 2016 when Schmetzer and the Sounders went to Toronto, sat deep and frustrated the favored home side. That was Schmetzer's first season as a head coach in MLS, taking over midway through the season.
Then, just as now, he wasn't looking for any outside validation.
“I’ve always been confident that I can coach in this league, I’ve had a couple of great mentors early on," Schmetzer said. "I played for various different coaches where I picked ideas. Obviously Sigi (Schmid) was a massive influence on me. … All of that experience helped me when I took the job over, so I feel comfortable.”