Now that MLS has announced David Beckham’s selection of comeback player of the year, we are left to wait for the naming of MLS coach of the year.
The candidates are Sigi Schmid of Seattle, Bruce Arena of LA and Peter Vermes. Give the second-best record in the league despite playing almost the entire season without Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White, I think Schmid is the easy and logical call. But we’ll see.
While waiting, I’ll pass along this quote from Schmid, when I asked him to assess the season he presided over.
You always want to take the team to the highest level possible. And obviously we’re a little disappointed because the goal at the end of the day in terms of the highest level is Supporters Shield and is also MLS Cup, so we didn’t quite achieve that. But I think there’s a lot of goals along the way that we achieved.
I think we’ve taken ourselves – with no deference to Salt Like – in three years we’ve taken an expansion team and put ourselves where we’re the second-best team this year in the league. I think that’s a pretty good climb. I think that consistency early on — we’ve gotten a little better each year – is something that I’m very proud of, for an expansion team to do that that quickly.
So now, our goal is we want to go a little further. We want to establish ourself permanently in the top two-three teams in this league all the time. So, from that standpoint, I’m happy because we were able to move forward and progress again over the last year. I’m also happy that we were able to overcome some obstacles.
I was reading somewhere in something that this team had this injury or this and that. I don’t think we’ve really talked about it an awful lot: We lost the best scoring wide player in the league from the year before; we lost a guy who I felt had abilities and was starting to show his abilities in O’Brian White, and so six games into the season – whatever it was, six or seven games in – we lost our best offensive players – our most dangerous offensive players at that timepoint. Fredy Montero was struggling a bit. And nobody really said anything. It was like, ‘OK.’ But we were able to keep going, the team was able to refocus, different people stepped up.
And I also think every year you have to add a few pieces, and I think we did that. Rosales was a good piece to add, obviously. I also thought Erik Friberg was also a good piece to add. Lamar Neagle emerging. So there were like three guys that at the beginning of the year nobody had on their charts of OK these guys are an impact. So I was happy that we were able to incorporate new pieces, I was happy that we were able to become better as a team, and I was happy that we achieved the majority of our goals.
I followed up by asking Schmid to more specifically assess himself: If he rated this among his best personal coaching performances. I’ll pass that answer along soon in a new post above.