Sounders FC @ Whitecaps FC
July 6, 2013, 8 pm PT; BC Place in Vancouver, B.C.
TV/Radio: NBC Sports; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
In the inaugural year of Major League Soccer in 1996, Sigi Schmid was as sought after a coach as there was in the country. The LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes both attempted to lure him from UCLA, where he had won two NCAA titles and had built the soccer program into a veritable factory for U.S. National Team players. Neither situation was right for Schmid at the time, though, so he remained with the Bruins.
Three years and one more NCAA championship later, he finally agreed to coach the LA Galaxy, starting what has become the winningest coaching career in the league’s history and on Saturday, Schmid will reach yet another coaching milestone when he coaches his 400th regular season MLS match when Sounders FC meets the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place.
“I have been doing this for a while,” Schmid quipped after match No. 399, a 2-0 win over D.C. United on Wednesday night. “Believe me, because I got into the league three years after everybody else I never thought I would get to 400 games ahead of everybody else. But it’s certainly a reflection on some good teams and good players and they’ve performed well. We’ve been able to figure out how to get the result more times than not, and that’s an important part of it to get to 400. I feel very honored to get to 400 and to be the first one to get there.”
After a successful run with the Galaxy that saw him go 79-53-32 and win the 2002 MLS Cup, Schmid coached three years with the Columbus Crew from 2006-2008 and quickly turned their club into an MLS champion in his third season, finishing with a 34-33-25 record in Columbus.
His pedigree as a two-time MLS Cup champion and two-time Supporters’ Shield winner made him an easy choice as the first coach for Sounders FC in their inaugural season in 2009 and he has coached them to unprecedented success, reaching the playoffs in their first four seasons.
Now in his fifth season in Seattle, Schmid is 66-37-40 at the helm of Sounders FC, where he has coached some memorable matches along the way.
Here are three of the most unforgettable.
March 15, 2009; Sounders FC 3, New York Red Bulls 0 at CenturyLink Field
The inaugural match for Sounders FC had everything Schmid could have hoped for in his first match in Seattle. Young Colombian forward Fredy Montero scored twice and Brad Evans, who just won MLS Cup with Schmid and the Crew in 2008, added another as the opening stanza in the story of Major League Soccer in Seattle started with a bang.
The play on the field was matched by the crowd of 32,523 that blew the roof off of all expectations in the stands.
October 24, 2009; Sounders FC 2, FC Dallas 1 at CenturyLink Field
In their regular season finale, Sounders FC celebrated a playoff berth – clinched one week earlier with a road victory over the Kansas City Wizards – in front of their home crowd with a comeback victory over FC Dallas. The crowd of 33,108 saw Nate Jaqua and Evans score to give Sounders FC the win and make Schmid the winningest coach in MLS history with his 125th career win, surpassing the victory total of Bob Bradley.
September 24, 2011; Sounders FC 3, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 at Empire Field
In the first season that Seattle, Vancouver and the Portland Timbers played together in MLS, Sounders FC asserted themselves as the dominant team in the northwest region by hoisting the Cascadia Cup with a resounding 3-1 win in Vancouver. Evans had a goal and an assist and Montero again netted a brace as Seattle improved to 2-0-2 against Vancouver and Portland to clinch the Cascadia Cup in the first year the derby was played in MLS.