SEATTLE—To hear Seattle Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey tell it, the club’s Tuesday announcement that it had mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Sigi Schmid wasn’t prompted by any sort of personnel-based power struggle.
“I actually think Sigi and I got along really well,” Lagerwey told reporters on Tuesday at Starfire Soccer Complex. “You’d have to ask him, but I don’t recall ever having a conversation with Sigi that wasn’t cordial. If anything, I did my best to be deferential over the past 18 months. He deserved that and he earned that.”
Either way, Lagerwey seems to have a vision of his own when it comes to what he wants the Sounders to look like in the post-Schmid era. One order of business, he says, is constructing a roster that isn’t overly reliant on an individual player.
Much of Seattle’s struggles this season can be traced back to the loss of star forward Obafemi Martins to the Chinese Super League just weeks before the start of the MLS season. The Sounders have struggled to recover from that loss, as they’ve limped to a 6-12-2 record ahead of their home matchup with the LA Galaxy on Sunday (4pm ET; ESPN in US, MLS LIVE in Canada).
It’s a scenario that Lagerwey says he plans on making a concerted effort to avoid as he looks to impart his philosophical vision on the club going forward.
“We’re not going to be as reliant on one player,” Lagerwey said. “We’re not going to have a strategy where we pass the ball to one or two guys and hope they score occasionally and don’t worry about everything else.
“We’re going to have systems and organizations and platforms and player successions and we’re going to do it in a way that allows us to succeed long-term, allows us to plug more players in and in a way that avoids a repeat of the Oba situation ever again.”
Lagerwey says the club took an initial step towards that vision with Wednesday’s announcement that the club had signed Uruguayan playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro to a Designated Player contract. At Lodeiro’s introductory press conference in Seattle on Wednesday, the second-year GM expanded on what he sees as his new vision.
“Philosophically, this is a new beginning for us,” Lagerwey said. “It’s an opportunity to play with the ball on the ground, be a possession-based team, to be a passing team, to be a creative attacking and entertaining team.
“It’s the style of play fans want to see and I think it’s also the way the modern MLS is, as the league becomes increasingly tactical and continues to add higher numbers of good players.”