Head coach Sigi Schmid exit stage left. Is this tumultuous season really his fault though?
Between a major roster overhaul, which challenges Seahawks Head coach Pete Carroll’s transactions in 2010; unfortunate penalty kicks, bad choices leading
to red cards, and plenty of missed scoring opportunities, this season for Sounders fans is frustrating to say the least.
Although let’s rewind to the most questionable decision, allowing MVP runner-up Obafemi Martins to sign with the Chinese Super League. What did the Sounders
expect when Martins left and they didn’t bring in another Designated Player before the spring transfer window closed?
The idea behind sending Oba to China: create more opportunity for rising star Jordan Morris in an already packed offensive team. One slight problem, the
Sounders never found an adequate replacement for Martins, their primary goal scorer.
Three options for players to slide into that role – Dempsey, Nelson Valdez and Jordan Morris.
Dempsey, who scores goals in bunches for team USA, excels most floating around the field, finding small pockets of space and linking up with like-minded
players. He CAN post-up, hold the ball, and wait for others; but you have a better chance finding clean water in Rio for the Olympics than Dempsey
Nelson Valdez, signed as a Designated Player in August 2015, may be a bigger bust for the Sounders than Shalri Joseph trying to play center mid. Valdez,
who has failed to stay healthy for an extended period of time in two years, provided minimal glimpses of success partnering with Dempsey (and I do
mean minimal), but nowhere near created the chemistry Martins showed.
Final nominee, Jordan Morris. The MLS rookie of the year candidate isn’t ready to transition into the prototypical #9 forward quite yet. Physically built
for the position, Morris has excelled slicing into the box from the wing and beating people with his pace, but still needs more exposure centrally
as a forward before progressing into a new permanent role.
Even though reports said it was a mutual departure, I can’t help but get the feeling that Sigi was forced out due to the team’s abysmal performance. I
lay most of the blame on the front office and offseason moves made this year, not Sigi.
Sigi’s seven straight post season appearances, four US Open cups, and one supporters shield for the Seattle Sounders won’t be forgotten.
I can’t help but think about the 2014 Western Conference Finals lost to LA. If Sigi wins that game and the MLS cup, people may point to the team’s performance
this year instead of criticizing his coaching. That’s a conversation for another time.