Seattle Sounders Commit to Sigi Schmid as Head Coach Moving Forward

Sigi SchmidLast Thursday, Seattle Sounders announced that they would bypass the hunt for a new manager and retain head coach Sigi Schmid for the 2014 season. After a two-hour sit down with the coach, owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer made firm his stance that Schmid was the right man going forward. Hanauer cited the coach’s leadership in the locker room and on the pitch.

In a conference call with reporters, majority owner Joe Roth said about the coach, “He is the leader of the players.” While he may have the support amongst those that play for him, Schmid is certainly on a thin rope with the fans.  Seattle is unlike any other city in the MLS. They have astronomical attendance in comparison to other teams and unwavering regional support.  The fans hold the team to high standards and every season brings a new desire for an MLS Cup.  In the five years that Schmid has been at the helm, such desire has not been satisfied.

However, when looking at Sigi Schmid’s resume it’s hard to argue that there’s a better man for the job. Coming to America from Germany when he was a young child, Schmid loved the game at an early age. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he started at midfield each of his four years at the school. He returned to UCLA as a coach in 1980 and led the Bruins to a 322W 63L 33D record in his 19 seasons with the school.  Schmid left UCLA and went to LA Galaxy during the 1999 MLS season.  There, he accumulated a record of 79W 53L 32D and led the Galaxy to an MLS Cup. In 2006, Schmid became the coach of Columbus Crew, where he won the Cup and continued to lead the team until the end of the 2008 season.

Sigi SchmidHe took over the Seattle Sounders in 2009, when they were coming into the league as an expansion team, and led them in to the playoffs. It was only the second time in MLS history that a first-year team was playing in the postseason. A third place finish in the Western Conference was backed by an appearance in the semi-finals and a US Open Cup Trophy.

In his second season with the club, the Sounders surged into the playoffs after winning 10 of their final 15 matches, but were eliminated in the semi-finals in front of a record-setting crowd. The next year, Schmid led the Sounders to their third straight conference semi-finals in a season where the club averaged an attendance of 38,496 per home match. In 2012, the team was the victim of another early playoff exit but not before they finished second-best in defense and fifth-best in offense.

This season, the Sounders finished fourth in the Western Conference and were eliminated by the Portland Timbers 5-3 on aggregate in the playoffs.  The ownership group proved to the fans that their commitment to winning was serious, bringing in Clint Dempsey and making him the highest paid player in Major League Soccer history.While Schmid has yet to lead this team to the MLS Cup, he has proven that he can put a quality product onto the pitch year in and year out. Club owner Roth stated:

“It’s two things. It’s results and character. We expect to get the results, we expect the team to have the character that we want it to, and if the team has the character we want it to, we’ll get the results.”

After hearing that statement from the owner, there is no contest that Schmid is the right man to lead the club. He has command of the locker room and the players go out and play hard for him. There is no lack of character on a team that features US national team players Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, and Brad Evans. With a few additional roster tweaks, the ownership group believes that Coach Schmid will lead the Sounders to the game’s biggest stage and ultimately to the MLS Cup that the great fans deserve.

Written by Daniel Fortenko

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Passionate Fanbase and Developing Squad Signal Bright Future for Seattle Sounders

Seattle SoundersWhen people think of Seattle, Washington, they think about the space needle, the famous fish market, and its close proximity to Canada. When they think of sports teams in Seattle, they think of the Seahawks, the Mariners, and the long gone Supersonics. But what most miss is the magic that the Seattle Sounders bring to the Emerald City. Although they are dubbed an expansion team by Major League Soccer, the Seattle Sounders aren’t new to Seattle.

How is this possible, you may ask? Because the team actually came into existence in the year 1974 as a member of the North American Soccer League (NASL), a league that no longer exists. The city’s love for the team was not enough to keep it around, and the club shut down operations in 1983. When Major League Soccer announced the first seven cities it would award a team too in 1994, Seattle was not included on the list. Searching for answers, Seattle’s soccer fans were told that they were not given a Major League Soccer team because of the lack of a soccer-specific pitch in the area.

The city would continue to be shunned by the MLS until 2007, when Adrian Hanauer teamed up with Hollywood stud Joe Roth to make a bid for MLS expansion. Paul Allen, co-founder of Seattle-based Microsoft, joined the ownership group that same year, raising hopes that this would finally be the city’s time to join into the MLS world. On November 13, 2007, it was announced that Seattle had been granted its long awaited soccer team. Matches would be played at the home of the Seahawks, then known as Qwest Field. The fans voted to officially name their team “Seattle Sounders FC,” and on May 28, 2008, the first jerseys and a sponsorship with Microsoft were announced.

The Seattle Sounders played their first home game on March 19, 2009 and gave a crowd of 32,523 exactly what they had deserved, a 3-0 romping over the New York Red Bulls. The Sounders went on to become only the second MLS expansion team to play their way into the playoffs in their first season. A 3rd place finish in the West was backed by an appearance in the conference semi-finals and a US Open Cup trophy.

Seattle SoundersThe 2010 season began with a roar for the Sounders, who defeated the Philadelphia Union with the score of 2-0. Their good fortunes quickly changed and they would go on to lose eight of their next fourteen matches. The fans proved to be a powerful 12th man on the field and the Sounders surged into the playoffs by defying odds and winning ten of their final fifteen matches. They were eliminated in the conference semifinals by the Los Angeles Galaxy, but not before setting a single-season attendance record, averaging 36,173 fans per match.

The following season brought a familiar atmosphere to CenturyLink Field. Fans wearing their Sounder Blue and Rave Green shirts poured into the stadium as the Sounders began 2011 by hosting the opening match of the MLS season. They would continue to do so all season long as the Sounders overall record for the season ended in eighteen wins, nine draws, seven losses, and a late playoff exit in the Western Conference Semifinal against the skilled Real Salt Lake. Once again, the fans showed their unwavering support, averaging a whopping 38,496 per match.

Last season signaled a record of 15-8-11. Even while racking up a total of 56 points, the Sounders were two points shy of the third-highest point total in the league, while finishing second-best in defense and fifth-best in offense. Most teams would love those stats, but another exit from the playoffs without the MLS Cup left the Sounders fan base disappointed and hungry for personnel changes.

Currently, the Seattle Sounders are tied for first place in the Western Conference with 51 points and have just recently made the league’s biggest  transaction in acquiring Clint Dempsey. They lead the league in attendance, averaging  43,180 a match, and while nobody can be sure of how the rest of the season will unravel, it is certain that this franchise will continue to grow and become a staple of the city of Seattle within a matter of years.

Written by Daniel Fortenko

Seattle Sounders Sign Clint Dempsey from Tottenham Hotspur in Record $9m Deal

Clint DempseyEarlier this week, Clint Dempsey left the Premier League and made a return to his homeland America to join with MLS club Seattle Sounders. He will become the highest paid player in MLS history, and the fee that Seattle Sounders are paying Tottenham Hotspur for the striker is understood to be in the region of $9m, which for an MLS club is quite a high fee.

Dempsey’s signing has come as a shock to quite a few people, since he is at such an important stage in his career and the move occurred just one year before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Nevertheless, it is a move that has once again, raised the stick of the MLS. Given that he is so well-known in the USA as well as in England, the move sparked more players who have played in the MLS over the last six years to join a Premier League side. For example, Landon Donovan spent two loan spells at Everton, and most recently, Geoff Cameron joined Stoke City. Major League Soccer is now getting more recognition and is rising as a league as a result of Clint Dempsey’s career in England.

The American striker came to England as an attacking midfielder, but was able to convert into a striker during his time at Fulham, picking up relatively impressive results and statistics. Sometimes it can be difficult for players to change their role in the team, but Clint Dempsey adapted to this well in the Premier League and became a constant nuisance for defenders of all sides to fend off.

Dempsey also made his mark on the European stage with Fulham as he helped them reach the final of the Europa League in 2010. Putting in great performances and scoring when his side really needed it, the prolific American became more and more of a regular in the team with then Fulham manager Roy Hodgson. He spent a total of six years in England and became a fan favorite at Fulham during his time there, always being one of their main threats in terms of goal scoring. He scored 50 goals in 184 league appearances at the Craven Cottage club. He isn’t the most prolific of strikers, but the majority of chances he gets, he takes.

Clint DempseyHe didn’t endure the happiest year at Tottenham due to his goal scoring tally not being as high as he’d hoped in addition to not getting a regular starting place in the team. With him not being a regular in the mind of Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas, maybe it really was time for a change of scenery for Dempsey. With the World Cup less than 12 months away now, no international striker will want to risk being left out of the squad by not playing regularly for their club.

Maybe this change is for the best. He will play almost every game for Seattle when fit and will take his chances. Also, with him playing in America, his national team coach will be able to see first-hand what the striker is really capable of, not that he didn’t already know. He managed just over 10 goals in the whole of last season in all competitions, which is not too impressive for a striker of his caliber.

This move is really crucial for Clint Dempsey as the 30-year-old attempts to force his way into the World Cup squad for next year, and he insists he is arriving at Seattle Sounders in his prime. Speaking at a press conference after he officially became a Sounders player, Dempsey said:

“I just missed being in America. I wanted to help continue the growth of the game here. You can’t help the growth of the game if you come back and you don’t perform. I understand there is a lot of pressure on me to succeed, a lot of expectations that others have on me, but also the expectations I put on myself and when I decided to come back to this league, I want to make an impact.”

“I want to do a good job. I don’t want to come and be passive and not be able to make a difference in games. I want to win things. I’ve been in Europe for six-and-a-half years and I just wanted to come home. Each year was getting more difficult to go back. The Seattle Sounders moved mountains to get me here. It was an opportunity to come back when I was in my prime, and continue growth in the league and it’s a challenge.”

Success for Dempsey is by no means far-fetched, and the striker will certainly add more attacking flair to the Sounders as they prepare to conquer the MLS Cup in December. I suppose his reasons for moving back are pretty understandable, and he will no doubt help continue the growth of American football, not just at the club level, but at the international level as well.

Written by OneFutbol

USA 4-3 Germany: US Soccer Centennial Celebration Match Ends in Historic Victory

USA 4-3 GermanyOn June 2nd, the American Soccer Association celebrated their 100th Anniversary at RFK Stadium in Washington DC, the nation’s capital. This would be the RFK’s 22nd international match for the USA Men’s Team, making it the stadium to have hosted the most international games for the team.

For their Centennial Celebration match, the US played hosts to a good German team, which had flown in on the back of a great victory away in Ecuador for a friendly match. USA had drawn 1-1 against Belgium at the match preceding this one but were just as confident as their German opponents heading into this match. After a moment of silence for the Oklahoma tornado victims, the hosts kicked off the game in good fashion.

It took the hosts only 13 minutes to score an opener, and Jozy Altidore was the man. After a 19-month international goal drought, the AZ Alkmaar forward picked up a good cross from Graham Zusi and hit a great right-footed, first-time volley. The German side looked to have been caught off guard by this goal, and things got even worse for them when Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen misread a Benedikt Howedes back-pass and allowed the ball to roll into the empty net just four minutes later. Ter Stegen, who was left red-faced, hoped his side would erase his mistake soon after, but the American defense didn’t feel the same.

Miroslav Klose managed to put the ball into the net for his side 5 minutes later, but his goal was ruled offside. Had it been accepted, Klose’s goal would have brought him level on goals with Gerd Muller’s record of 68 international goals for Germany. It wasn’t, however, as he had clearly been offside.

Joachim Low made 4 substitutions at half-time, with the introduction of Phillipp Wollscheid, Dennis Aogo, Heiko Westermann, and Max Kruse for Per Mertesacker, Marcell Jansen, Lars Bender, and Sven Bender respectively. Jurgen Klinsmann made 1 substitution at half-time, bringing on Brad Davis for Fabian Johnson.

USA 4-3 GermanyIt only took 6 minutes into the second half for another goal to be found. On the 51st minute, after Germany had been awarded a corner which was taken by substitute Max Kruse, SV Hamburger’s Heiko Westermann got away from the American defense and headed brilliantly towards the net from 7 yards to make it 2-1. The half-time changes seemed to have completely changed Germany’s game.

Germany’s joy was, however, short-lived as they conceded a third goal just 9 minutes later on the hour mark when the first of two brilliant goals by Clint Dempsey restored the two-goal cushion for the hosts. Having picked up a good cross from Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey hit a strong shot from 10 yards and beat ter Stegen. Great work from Eddie Johnson and Jermaine Jones as well as Jozy Altidore provided the assist.

Soon after his first goal of the match, Clint Dempsey scored another brilliant goal with his left foot. Just 4 minutes after his first goal, the Tottenham Hotspur striker shot the ball into the corner of the net from a whole 24 yards out, beating the outstretched arms of ter Stegen, and much to the delight of the crowd.

One would have thought that the game was over after this, but the Germans reduced the deficit 15 minutes later courtesy of assistant to the first German goal, Max Kruse. Assisted by Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski, the Frieburg man shot past Tim Howard from just outside the 18 yard box to make it 4-2.

Just over 120 seconds later, the Germans added another goal thanks to a left-footed shot into the net by FC Schalke’s Julian Draxler. Bayer Leverkusen’s Sidney Sam had had his shot saved by Tim Howard, but Draxler was able to get the ball from the rebound and make it 4-3.

With 9 minutes plus added time remaining, Germany had a chance to level things, but the US team managed to hold them and end the match with a beautiful win. An early goal from Jozy Altidore and a brilliant Clint Dempsey brace made the US team’s Centennial Celebration match one to certainly remember for the Red, White, and Blues.

Written by Ange Marline

Tottenham vs Fulham: Spurs Look to Seal Champions League Spot for Next Season

Gareth BaleMarin Jol’s Fulham will make the very short trip to White Hart Lane today as they face 3rd place Tottenham Hotspur.

In his pre-match press conference, ex-Spurs and Fulham manager Martin Jol urged the controversy surrounding Gareth Bale to remain at Tottenham for the rest of his career, and eventually become a White Hart Lane hero and legend. Martin Jol was the manager at the Spurs when Wales international Gareth Bale joined from Southampton in May 2007. Jol said:

“I saw Bale at Southampton when he was 15, we followed him and other people came in but I had a few words with his mum to convince him to come to Spurs,”

“With hindsight it’s very satisfying, he’s probably the best player in the Premier League at the moment and he shows it week in, week out.”

“I played him in his first match against Manchester United and he had better stats than any other player, and he was 17. Hopefully for the league and for Spurs he will stay because I think it’s a very good club for him. He’s getting stronger and stronger and playing in the hole he is probably even better.”

“Spurs is a big club with a big fan base and he could be a legend there. If he decides to go on to bigger things abroad it can be a risk. It comes off sometimes but not always.”

“But whatever he decides to do he will have a big future. Hopefully he stays in the league and I can keep enjoying watching him.”

Bale did not play in Tottenham’s embarrassing Europa League defeat against Inter Milan, and Tottenham’s support will be happy he’s back in the starting line-up after they were less than convincing as they progressed to the Quarter-Final of the UEFA Europa League.

STAT ATTACK: Tottenham have won their last six Barclays Premier League games against Fulham

Players will catch up with each other as they face their old side. Dimitar Berbatov returns to White Hart Lane after he enjoyed a spell there before moving to Manchester United and then progressing to Fulham. Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele face their friends after they moved to the Lane from Craven Cottage last summer. Martin Jol also returns to the Lane after he managed Tottenham from 2004 till 2007.

Dimitar Berbatov & co.STAT ATTACK: Fulham have scored a total of only two goals in their last eight top-flight games against Spurs.

Some Spurs fans will have to wonder today; will two defeats in a row to Liverpool and Inter Milan have taken its toll mentally on Tottenham’s players. If so, they could be in a real trouble as they look to stay in third spot. Last season it was all looking plush for the London club, and then a dip in form at the end of the season made them loose out on a Champions League spot, and Harry Redknapp got the sack.

STAT ATTACK: Fulham have only ever won 21 of their 104 Premier League London derbies

What to do? Welsh International and Tottenham’s star player has been told he will become a legend if he stays at White Hart Lane for his whole career.

STAT ATTACK: Fulham have taken only five points from six London derbies this season, while Spurs have 16, more than any other capital club.

STAT ATTACK: Only five of Gareth Bale’s 16 Premier League goals this season have come at White Hart Lane.


Tottenham should have too much for an inferior Fulham side. Bale, Dempsey and Dembele will attack the space and will be a huge threat. Bale will also be a big worry for Fulham from set pieces. Defensively, Tottenham have Michael Dawson returning after a rest in Italy. He should curb any Fulham attack with the help of Hugo Lloris, who was also rested at the San Siro in goal.

Score: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Fulham

Bale, Adebayor, and Berbatov with the goals.

Written by Harry Robinson