Brian Schmetzer believes it’s time for the Seattle Sounders to leave last season’s accomplishments in the past and concentrate on the 2017 campaign.
The Seattle Sounders received their MLS Cup championship rings in a private ceremony on Tuesday, at the Starfire Sports Complex. And now it’s time to mark an end to last season’s achievements and move on.
At least that’s the view of Sounders’ coach Brian Schmetzer, attempting to do his best Bill Belichick impression. Speaking to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times, Schmetzer said:
"“We tried to turn the page, actually. So, everything that we’ve done up until this moment has been great. We’ve won a championship and everything. And we’ve had appearances and we’ve had some good press about the Sounders finally winning a championship.“And all of that is great. They rewarded themselves last year for all the hard work that they did. They got rewarded today with the actual presentation, with the rings, which was great because of all the office staff as well. So, it was one organizational moment that was pretty special. And so now, what we said after that was ‘Enjoy your ring. We’re going to go back to work because we’ve got a big match coming up on Saturday.’ ”"
That big match would be a clash with their Cascadia Cup rivals, the Portland Timbers. Of course, they’re always big games, but this one takes on extra special meaning, with it marking a clash between the last two teams to hoist the MLS Cup.
Further, the Sounders could use a victory at the weekend to provide a boost, after a rough start to the 2017 season. They’ve only won three times in 12 games and currently find themselves out of a playoff sport, five points behind the Timbers.
In respect of the Sounders’ early season struggles, maybe now more than ever, they could use last year as inspiration for what they’re capable of. After all, they had a similarly poor start in 2016, before turning it around and charging towards championship glory.
However, who am I to question the methods of Mr. Schmetzer? Having met him several times, he is probably one of the most cerebral people I’ve ever spoken to – both in and out of the world of professional sports.
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In fairness, the mindset of the 54-year old Seattle native actually makes sense. At some point, you have to stop resting on the laurels of previous accomplishments, especially if you want to achieve more success.
This season’s edition of the Rave Green has the nucleus of the same roster which won the MLS Cup last December. They also have a full healthy Clint Dempsey, who leads the team with four goals.
Unfortunately, the early season efforts of the Sounders have been undermined by various injuries. Most noteworthy, has been the absence of their towering defender, Roman Torres.
However, this cannot be used as an ongoing excuse. Further, the likes of Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro — who have not been injured — need to improve their consistency and live up their undoubted abilities.
Overall, Schmetzer is arguably right to say it’s time to turn the page on last season’s heroics. However, if the Sounders don’t return to form soon, all they will have are the memories of their MLS Cup glory in Toronto.
Do you agree with Schmetzer’s approach in turning the page on last season? Or would you look to use it as inspiration to get the 2017 campaign back on track? Share your thoughts in the comments section.