Neither Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer nor coach Sigi Schmid indicated today that the Real Salt Lake series represents any kind of last chance for the current roster core to succeed in the playoffs.
As most every Sounders fan knows, for all the club’s achievements, it has never won a playoff series: being eliminated by Houston in 2009, Los Angeles in 2010, and Real Salt Lake in 2011.
So Hanauer and Schmid were asked today if a fourth straight first-round elimination might cause major roster turnover before their fifth MLS season.
Hanauer: “We will for sure try to improve out team – MLS Cup or non-playoff win. I think that you have to factor it in. But I don’t want to tie myself. We might play the best playoff series ever and lose, or we might play mediocre through the playoffs and win an MLS Cup. I want to make sure I’m balancing the result with the quality. Certainly, if these playoffs don’t go well for us, we will take that into account and try to figure out what’s going to change that in the future.”
Schmid: “Everything affects everything. What happens in this playoff series affects it, what happened in the regular season affects it, what possibilities are there after the season in terms of trades or movements. You can never say. The only thing I can so to you for sure from all my years of coaching is from one year to the next there are some guys that aren’t back and there are new guys that are here. Some years it ends up being more than others, but even on good teams you’re still turning over five to seven players every year. Look at teams over in Europe – look at a Man United, look at a Chelsea, who was Champions League winners last year and how many players did they turn over. So, that’s just part of the nature of the game.
“You have to know why you win; you have to know why you lose. If you get knocked out, does that mean you show blow it up? Or winning it, does that mean you should blow it up because maybe this was the hurrah. That’s something that you sit down after and you evaluate. But I think it’s a situation of we’ve got to evaluate the pieces and how we’ve done and continue to do well. But right now our focus is not on that, our focus is on Salt Lake on Friday.”