Sigi Schmid wants to return in 2016, but he knows there’s work to be done in the offseason if Sounders FC wants to win that elusive first MLS Cup in franchise history.
The Sounders head coach said that he’ll leave his fate up to club ownership now that Seattle’s season has come to an end, done in by FC Dallas in a wild second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday night in Frisco, Texas. The Sounders and FC Dallas tied 3-3 on aggregate over the two-leg series before Dallas won in a penalty shootout, denying the Sounders a return to the Conference Championship for the third time in four seasons.
The 62-year-old Schmid has led the Sounders to the postseason each of their seven years in MLS, but they have yet to reach and MLS Cup final, let alone win the postseason crown, something that Schmid said is the primary goal for the franchise.
“The Cup is what we still haven’t given them yet,” Schmid said. “We’ve given them four Open Cups, we’ve given them a Supporters’ Shield. Our trophy case has a lot more in it than Dallas’, as an example.
“But I really appreciated the turnout of our fans today, the support that they gave us in those three games at CenturyLink [Field], and like I said, there’s nothing I want to do more – and there’s nothing the guys in the room want to do more – than to bring an MLS Cup back to Seattle. Hopefully one day that will happen.”
When asked if he wanted to return in 2016 to try and make that happen, Schmid said: “Yeah. But obviously that’s not my decision. That’s ownership’s decision and they’ll decide that. But I feel fine, and I still feel capable of coaching.”
Schmid signed a multi-year contract extension in December after leading the team to the Supporters’ Shield and the U.S Open Cup title, the fourth in franchise history.
Schmid added that he’s well-aware the club may need to make some player personnel moves during the offseason, and it’s unclear if the team’s core of players that won a Supporters’ Shield last year and drove the team back to the postseason this year will remain intact.
“That’s something I’ve got to think about, and we’ll make decisions on that,” he said. “I thought the team did well considering all the obstacles and all the difficulties we had this season and people being out … At the end of the day I think they showed a lot of character, a lot of desire, the three games in a week, winning all three of those games. And pulling one back today when we went down, 1-0.
“I think there’s a lot of character that’s been brought out by this team. But in the end, it wasn’t enough.”