Sigi Schmid isn’t done yet in Major League Soccer. In his first interview since parting ways with Seattle Sounders FC and returning home to California, Schmid tells FourFourTwo he’s still motivated to win another MLS Cup — as a head coach, not a GM — and he isn’t shy about his interest in doing that with LAFC.
Sigi also looks back on a disastrous half season that sealed his departure, casting blame on both on an unprecedented rash of bad fortune and on the decision to leave the Sounders without a replacement Designated Player for too long after Obafemi Martins left for China.
“This year we never replaced Oba. If we could have replaced him in March or April, I think it would have changed things, and the replacement, obviously, came too late for me,” Schmid says. “I knew we needed to replace him and knew we needed one more attacking piece, and we didn't have that.”
But it wasn’t just the lack of a superstar striker that derailed the 2016 season, Sigi says. He points out unfortunate moments in each of the first few matches of the campaign that left the Sounders with three straight losses. He says those matches and others would have gone differently with better luck or different officiating.
“It just seemed of all the year that I've coached -- and I don't want this to sound like an excuse; maybe people are going to take it that way -- but I've been coaching the game long enough; I've never had a season where I felt my team dominated the opposition so often and came away with nothing.”
The coach with the most MLS wins says he’s disappointed he wasn’t given the chance to put the team with Nicolas Lodeiro and Alvaro Fernandez “through its paces,” but he saw the writing on the wall in Seattle in terms of the team’s record.
“I think we had a great run in Seattle, still disappointed about how it ended. I thought there were other options that were possibly available, but you've got to deal with what happens and look forward.”
The only MLS coach the Sounders had known until July 26 is already itching to get back on the pitch in MLS, and it sounds like he’d be pretty happy landing with Southern California’s newest squad: “For me, personally, in an ideal world, [LAFC] could be a good situation.”