Sounders FC GM and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said this week that while he recognizes the Portland Timbers’ win in MLS Cup may have shone a bright light on the Sounders’ lack of a title, it won’t change the club’s plan of attack.
The Timbers became the first Cascadia team to win MLS Cup with a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC last Sunday, and Lagerwey acknowledged there will be more public pressure on the Sounders now that their longtime rivals have reached the pinnacle of MLS.
“Publicly, sure, that’s true,” Lagerwey told SoundersFC.com. “From an expansion perspective, Portland started two years after us and won a title before we did, so, sure. But I also think that we put plenty of pressure on ourselves. I didn’t come here for any reason other than to try and win an MLS Cup.
“That was the goal this year, and that’s why we took a risk and signed four big guys in the summer. Unfortunately, Roman Torres got hurt and we had some other knocks in the playoffs that didn’t work out for us, but we’re going to keep going for it. We’re going to keep trying to win a title, and winning an MLS Cup is the No. 1 goal of the organization. And we’re not going to rest until we get one, irrespective of what Portland or anyone else does.”
Lagerwey also had some personal ties to the Timbers team that won the Cup in defender Nat Borchers and midfielder Will Johnson. Both players helped Real Salt Lake win an MLS Cup in 2009, when Lagerwey was the GM there.
“I texted with Will and with Nat before the game and after the game,” Lagerwey said. “They’re both really good people. I’m really happy for them and I’m really proud of them. I told them they did awesome. And I understand that may not be popular coming from Seattle, but I knew those guys for a long time, and those guys won a lot of games for me and won a lot of games for Salt Lake. We went through a lot of wars together. I’ll always be grateful for what they did for me and happy for their success, no matter the forum.”
SoundersFC.com will release the entire wide-ranging interview with Lagerwey on Monday, Dec. 14, covering topics including the team’s salary cap concerns, the fate of Osvaldo Alonso, the health of Clint Dempsey and more.