SEATTLE — To the surprise of virtually no one, Seattle Sounders fans voted overwhelmingly to retain Garth Lagerwey as the team’s general manager. Although the vote failed to reach the 40 percent threshold — 37.2 percent of eligible voters cast a vote — that would have made the results binding, 87.3 percent of the ballots cast were in support of Lagerwey.
That’s not quite as high as the 96.3 percent support that Adrian Hanauer received during the first GM vote in 2012, when 41.7 percent of the eligible votes were cast, but it still suggests a high degree of satisfaction with the job Lagerwey is doing. For Lagerwey to have been removed, 67 percent of the votes would have needed to be “no confidence” and 40 percent of eligible votes would have needed to be cast.
Just how many votes were cast in this election is not entirely clear — somewhat by design — but Alliance Council President Martin Buckley did say more total votes were cast in this election than in Hanauer’s, when the number was reported as 13,775.
“We didn’t hit 40 percent, but the 40 percent is only important when we’re trying to get rid of a general manager,” said Sounders minority owner Drew Carey, who made a rare in-person appearance at Tuesday’s Alliance Business Meeting. “So we’re not totally upset we didn’t get to 40 percent, but the more participation the better. Like in politics, when things are pretty good turnout isn’t that big; unlike when an election is really important, it’s life-and-deathy ... like lately.”
Under Lagerwey’s guidance, the Sounders have made the playoffs all four years and twice reached the MLS Cup final, winning it in 2016. This year, they enjoyed their best regular-season under Lagerwey — and their third best of all time — with 59 points, which included the best-ever half-season performance in MLS history as the Sounders went 14-2-1 down the stretch. Their +15 goal-difference ranks as the second best figure in the club’s 10 years of MLS existence.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be appointed as GM of the Sounders, but to be elected means even more,” Lagerwey said. “To have the support of all of you — 87 percent, I’m not sure you can get that many people to agree on a flavor of ice cream — that means a lot.”