Brian Schmetzer

Brian Schmetzer keeps photos of rival coaches for "personal motivation"

TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer keeps a pair of photos on his office desk that, at first glance, probably seem out of place.

One is a picture of Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter celebrating a decisive goal the Timbers scored against Seattle in the 2013 Western Conference semifinals that sealed the Sounders’ postseason exit. That photo is joined by another snapshot of a painful playoff defeat suffered by Seattle at the hands of a Western Conference nemesis.

“I’ll clarify that just because I want to make sure Caleb understands he’s in good company,” Schmetzer told reporters when asked about the photo after Seattle’s practice on Friday. “I also have one of [LA Galaxy coach] Bruce Arena from [the 2014 Western Conference finals] when we were an away goal from a possible treble. And Bruce is in the photo drinking from a bottle of champagne looking like they had just won a championship, which they [eventually] did.”

So, why does Schmetzer keep a constant, daily reminder of two of the more excruciating defeats in franchise history in his own office? The explanation, he says, is a simple one: Both Porter and Arena have something that Schmetzer and the Sounders don’t.

Arena has won three MLS Cups since taking over as Galaxy coach in 2008, the most of any franchise in the league. Porter and the Timbers, meanwhile, became the first Cascadian team to win MLS Cup last season, a summit that the Sounders still have yet to reach despite years of being perennial postseason contenders.

“[The photos are] just a little bit of personal motivation for me to keep that on my desk and remind myself that this club needs to win a championship,” Schmetzer said. “It’s all engrained within us. We want to win a championship, we’re going to do everything we can to win a championship. So that’s the reason for those photos on my desk.

“It serves as added motivation for me to match up against two very, very good coaches.”

Schmezter relayed the anecdote of the office photos as the Sounders gear up for one of the higher-stakes regular-season matchups in their history. Seattle take on Portland in a massive Cascadia Cup and Heineken Rivalry Week clash at Providence Park on Sunday (2 p.m. PT; ESPN; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360am), with just a single point separating the sides for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“Sunday’s a massive game for us,” Schmetzer said on Friday. “We just need to continue the good play. ... Chance creation is going to be key for us because we cannot bunker against a good Portland team for 90 minutes. We’re going to go out, we’re going to attack and we’re going to try and score.”



Grab your tickets and celebrate our 50th Anniversary Season!

2024 Pick ’Em Plan

2024 Pick ’Em Plan

Pick your matches and unlock exclusive benefits such as on-field experiences, upgrades, pre-sales, and more!