Zach Scott

Zach Scott praises longtime coach Brian Schmetzer after Seattle Sounders reach first-ever MLS Cup

TUKWILA, Wash. — The champagne bottle looked ready to pop at any moment, and Zach Scott could barely contain his excitement.

In the visiting locker room at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo., last Sunday, the Seattle Sounders were about to celebrate after defeating the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference Championship and advancing to the first MLS Cup Final in franchise history.

Bottles of champagne had already been passed out while the Western Conference trophy waited to be passed around. Head coach Brian Schmetzer gave a quick speech before Scott shook his bubbly all over Schmetzer, jumped in his arms and hugged him with jubilation belying Scott’s 36-and-soon-to-be-retired self.

“I love Brian, he’s been instrumental in my career,” said Scott. “I see the way he takes a lot of young guys under his wing. He wants to see them succeed.”

Scott was once one of those young guys. The two have a long history dating back to when Schmetzer drafted Scott in 2002 in the Sounders’ USL days. Scott played under USL head coach Schmetzer from 2002-08 and won two championships in 2005 and ’07.

When Sigi Schmid took over the MLS Sounders in their inaugural season in 2009, the club retained Schmetzer as an assistant, and he and Scott have been together since. Scott announced his retirement a few months ago, knowing in advance that 2016 would be his final season in professional soccer and playing for Schmetzer. Now he’s hoping he can bring home an MLS Cup for his longtime coach when the Sounders visit Toronto FC on Saturday, Dec. 10 (5 p.m. PT; FOX, TSN, UniMas, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360AM).

“There’s really not much more [Schmetzer] could accomplish with who he is in the Seattle soccer community,” said Scott. “Maybe this will give him that international pedigree so that when players are looking to come here in the future, they say, ‘Hey, this guy helped to turn the Sounders’ season around and won them a championship in his first year.’

“We’ll get that much more notoriety as a club because of what he’s been able to accomplish.”

Schmetzer has adamantly defended his position that he has not and will not employ Scott, who has been a routine bench player since Schmetzer took over, in any sort of testimonial way. Schmetzer will play Scott when he feels it will help the team, which happened most recently in the waning moments of the second leg against Colorado.

“Personally, it’s a good story for me,” Schmetzer said of Scott contributing leading into his final career game. “We all love Zach.”



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