Sometimes there is a good reason to dwell on the past, and that reason is generally to smirk at the future. Well, okay, it feels good. But sometimes smirking amounts to asking for trouble.
After what Seattle Sounders FC majority owner Joe Roth called a “horrible” end to the 2013 season, he faced a decision: fire coach Sigi Schmid, or fire some players.
“It was close,” Roth said. “I called Sigi down to Los Angeles with (general manager Adrian Hanauer). It was after we won one of the last 10 games, (survived) the play-in game and lost to Portland. I was upset. And we sat for a couple of hours. And I sat there and I thought, ‘You know, I could fire this guy, who I think is one of the two best coaches in the league. But he’s won the championship in LA and Columbus. So I’ve either got to fire him or fire the players.’ So I fired the players — because obviously they just weren’t jelling.”
This season, the new combination jelled. The Sounders won their fourth U.S. Open Cup, their first Supporters’ Shield and on Sunday will begin the Western Conference finals series at Los Angeles in hopes of advancing to their first MLS Cup.
As Don Ruiz notes for The News Tribune, Sounders FC failed to reach the MLS Cup final in their first five seasons. Sunday, however, brings the first leg of their two-game Western Conference Final aggregate against L.A. Galaxy, who Sounders FC just defeated a few weeks ago in order to capture their first Supporters’ Shield. The first task will be to hold LAG to zero goals; all else follows.
Well, okay, not all. SFC still have to score at least a goal, preferably in Los Angeles, and then everything else can follow. The whole thing about road goals is puzzling to Americans who don’t follow fútbol, but the maxim still generally holds: Offense wins games; defense wins championships.
Whatever. The bottom line is to get your smirk on. Sounders FC face L.A. Galaxy Sunday, 23 November, at StubHub Center in Carson, California. Along with the second leg, a week later in Seattle, these will be Landon Donovan’s last matches in MLS.
Rally up, Rave Green. There will be no swan song for the American legend.
Ruiz, Don. “Sounders owner glad he kept coach, fired players”. The News Tribune. 17 November 2014.