After over seven years serving as the only MLS manager the Seattle Sounders had ever employed, Sigi Schmid and the club agreed to part on mutual terms following a bottom of the league start to the 2016 campaign.
Schmid, a two-time MLS Cup champion as manager of the Columbus Crew, left the Sounders with rumors of dressing room unrest having made his role untenable in Seattle. One big name mentioned in the fallout was USMNT captain Clint Dempsey.
The 33-year-old Dempsey joined Seattle in 2013 and helped the club to a Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup double in 2014. However, a disappointing 2015 gave way to the horrendous start Seattle experienced for the first half of this season.
Schmid is adamant that his relationship with Dempsey remained “productive”, just not “as productive as it needed to be”.
“I think Clint is an immensely talented player, and there was a frustration there because of our inability to find him with the ball in higher positions up the field,” Schmid told ESPNFC. “As a result he came back [into midfield] and obviously you watch him play now with [Nicholas] Lodeiro, and Lodeiro can find him, so now the wheels and the spokes are working a lot better.”
The arrival of Lodeiro in Seattle coincided with Schmid’s departure. The 27-year-old Uruguayan attacker has sparked a revival for the Sounders — they’ve won their last three matches and are now only two points out off playoff contention.
Lodeiro has effectively replaced the summer loss of Obafemi Martins, and Schmid is quick to admit that Seattle’s form this season was difficult for both him and Dempsey to accept:
“I think it was just a case that Clint is competitive and I’m competitive and we both want to win. We were trying to do what we could do to make that happen. Sometimes it was productive and sometimes it wasn’t as productive as it needed to be.”
Seattle will be looking to continue their revival tonight away to the Houston Dynamo.
For the 63-year-old Schmid, potential MLS suitors are in no short supply. The latest rumor has the coaching veteran returning to take charge of MLS expansion side Los Angeles FC.
(H/T: ESPN FC)
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