2016 MLS Cup

For Seattle Sounders' Brian Schmetzer and Adrian Hanauer, happiness and relief after MLS Cup win

TORONTO – Fresh off coaching his hometown Seattle Sounders to their first MLS Cup victory in the history of the franchise, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer struggled Saturday night to put his emotions into words.

Schmetzer has only been Seattle’s coach since July, taking over the team at a time when many had written of their hopes of even making the playoffs at all – let alone making a sustained run at a championship.

Now, the 54-year-old Seattle native has an addition to his resume that can never be taken away. Schmetzer and the Sounders are MLS Cup champions following Saturday night’s 5-4 penalty kick triumph over Toronto FC at BMO Field.

“I think it’s going to take a while to sink in,” Schmetzer told reporters at his postgame press conference. “What I do know is the words that I can up with: I’m awfully proud of those guys. They’re obviously very happy in that locker room. I’m happy for the traveling support. I’m happy for the fans that couldn’t make the trip out here and see the game live.

“I’m proud, I’m happy, I’m thankful for the opportunity that [Sounders owners] Adrian [Hanauer] and Joe [Roth] gave me. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure 10 years from now, I’ll be able to really reflect and soak this in because it was a tremendous moment and one that may never come around again.”

Hanauer has been effusive in his praise of Schmetzer since he took over, often noting the joy he personally takes in watching the success of a person who he called after Saturday’s final, “one of my favorite people on the planet.”

“There were probably a lot of cuss words [after the victory], in a positive way,” Hanauer said. “I’m so happy for Schmetz. Such a good person. Such a long history with Seattle. He’s won some things. Obviously we had a couple of championships in 2005 and 2007 with the USL, but this is big-time.

“For him to showcase his talent and leadership and mental strength to keep the team pointed in the right direction, again, I just couldn’t be happier for him. One of my favorite people on the planet. Really, just happy for his success.”

For the Sounders, Saturday’s MLS Cup victory finally put to rest one of the prevailing narratives surrounding the franchise. Since their 2009 expansion season, Seattle had made the playoffs every season but had had fallen victim to early exits in each one of those appearances.

With the first championship now officially in the bag, Hanauer said the first emotion he felt was a sense of relief. But he quickly added that he doesn’t expect his team to stop at one.

“There has been a lot of pressure in Seattle,” Hanauer said. “We take it upon ourselves as owners, as people within the organization with a really big fan base, they have high expectations. For me, there is a little sense of relief to get that first one. But now, just as focused on getting the next one.”



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