The news that Sigi Schmid was named head coach of the LA Galaxy may have surprised Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer as he planned for this weekend’s match at the StubHub Center, but he stressed that it doesn’t change how he wants his team to play.
While there were certainly other factors at play, it is interesting that Schmid’s first game is against his old team — and his protégé. Schmetzer praised the appointment, and said the news certainly made him thinking about his game plan for Saturday’s match. “It’s good for him, I was thinking of course, getting into competitive mode. Like, Sigi knows a lot about me, I know a lot about him, he knows about my players, and I know kinda his style.”
No two MLS coaches may know each other’s tendencies quite as well as Schmetzer and Schmid after working together in Seattle from 2009 until last season’s mid-year shakeup. But the current Sounders head coach said he won’t let his predecessor’s knowledge of him and his team alter his confidence and approach to the match. The Sounders still have their early season win in LA, as well as their status as reigning champions, to boost them over the Galaxy this weekend. “I’m gonna play my game, Sigi’s gonna do his thing,” Schmetzer said. “We’re not going to change that much.”
The coaching change in Southern California will affect more than just Schmetzer, as many of the current Sounders squad played under Schmid for varying lengths of time. The longest-serving would be Brad Evans; Schmid was Evans’ only coach in MLS until Schmetzer took over the Sounders last year. Many of Evans’ friends were certainly aware of this, as he said he received many texts about it on Thursday morning after the news broke. Evans joked that many of the texts said “‘Can you call Sigi for me?’ Everyone wants to go to LA.”
But Evans congratulated his former coach, also noting that it was a bit of a surprise considering the last conversation between the two. “The last time we spoke was before the Sirius XM interview kind of previewing the last World Cup qualifiers, and he told me that he didn’t think he was going to get a job, that that wasn’t in the cards.” Evans credited that to Schmid’s perseverance, and thinks Schmid was a pretty obvious choice considering his pedigree, history with the Galaxy, and his already being local to LA. Even though he’s happy for Schmid and his new role, Evans admits “it would be nice to beat him.”
In terms of what he’s expecting from Schmid’s big opening match against his former club, Evans thinks the Galaxy shouldn’t be underestimated, despite their current five-game losing streak. “Anytime you bring in a new coach, your team is up for the task and everyone is proving that they belong on the field and they deserve to be there as well.” He notes that while it is a bit of a wild card, considering they have no idea how Schmid will line up the Galaxy and what his tactics will be like, he echoed Schmetzer in saying that the Sounders will show up and play their game, no matter the opponent. “I don’t know how he expects to line up that team, if he goes with the same formation or if he goes his own route and decides to go back to 4-4-2,” Evans said. “I think it’s a guessing game at this point and ultimately our focus is to be prepared for anything and bang away some goals.”