Two months ago, Sigi Schmid had tears in his eyes as he addressed the Sounders FC faithful at the conclusion of the 2014 season.
“We’re sorry,” he said. “We want to win it for them, we really do.”
There was nothing he wanted more than to bring an MLS Cup to Seattle, Schmid said. It’s been six years since he became Head Coach of the new club based in the Emerald City, and although the team has won several titles under Schmid, it has yet to hoist the most significant trophy of them all.
Last year the Rave Green came as close as they’ve ever been. One additional goal in the Western Conference Championship would have sent them through to an MLS Cup Final at CenturyLink Field. After a season in which they had won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield, the Sounders were left wondering what could have been.
As the 2015 preseason gets underway, that bitter feeling is still with the club.
“I think the team is motivated,” Schmid said. “We want to take that one more jump. We got two out of three titles last year. We’d like to get three out of three. We don’t want to give up the two that we got, but on the same token, MLS Cup is what people measure you by.”
In 2014, Sounders FC won its fourth Open Cup title in six years. It dueled the LA Galaxy for the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference Championship, with each team claiming one of the two trophies.
Ante Razov, the new Sounders FC Assistant Coach, was thrilled to join a team that has established itself as one of the dominant clubs in MLS. He has been part of the technical staff for merely one week, though it appears that the former U.S. National Team striker is already on the same page as the rest of the organization.
Asked if he set any personal goals for his first season in Seattle, Razov said without hesitation, “Win MLS Cup.”
Razov won the Cup as a player with the Chicago Fire in 1998. Schmid also experienced winning an MLS Cup before coming to Seattle, hoisting the trophy in 2002 with the Galaxy and in 2008 with Columbus Crew.
“I know everyone here is rabidly eager to win the Cup,” said Garth Lagerwey, new Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer. “And I would tell you that winning the Cup is really hard. And I say that because at Real Salt Lake, we felt that we should have won more than one.
“I think all the tools are here. I think all the pieces are here. It’s just about putting things together.”