Sigi Schmid guarantees Sounders won't be winless after Saturday
Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid on guaranteeing a win Saturday against the Revolution: "I have a strong belief in our team."
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid has guaranteed a win in Saturday's 1 p.m. home game against the New England Revolution.
Schmid initially said as much in a radio interview Thursday on KJR-AM, though it was hard to tell how serious he was when he commented, with a laugh: "I'd better guarantee it or else I don't know if ownership is going to keep me."
The coach was pressed again at the end of the segment to repeat the guarantee, but he explained after Friday's practice that he was not "pulled into it."
"It's my belief," Schmid said. "I have a strong belief in our team."
And where does that belief come from after a franchise-worst 0-3-1 start and a roster riddled with injuries?
"We want to get healthy bodies on the field, guys who can give the energy and are going to run their hearts out for Seattle," Schmid said. "And when they go out there and play with that energy and that commitment and that dedication, I feel confident they're going to win the game. So my prediction of a win was based upon that confidence."
The Sounders are desperate for one, even this early in the season.
Things are so bad that Seattle, no matter Saturday's result, is still assured the worst five-game start in team history. A win also won't be enough to get the Sounders out of last place in the Western Conference.
When a reporter mentioned the team being in last earlier this week, Schmid interrupted with sarcastic clarification: "Dead last."
Pressure, so far, isn't coming from the front office.
"Obviously poor results," said Adrian Hanauer, general manager and part owner. "I don't think we've played as bad as a one-point-in-four-games team, but it is what it is, and we need to start collecting points on Saturday."
A pressing on-the-field issue has been finishing chances. The Sounders have scored just three goals in their last 64 shots in all competitions, about half the MLS average of a goal every 10 shots.
Midfielder Steve Zakuani, who started Tuesday at forward, has rued a couple of his own missed opportunities.
"Sometimes when you lack a little bit of confidence in front of goal, you just need one to go in," he said. "The finishing part I'm never worried about, because eventually it comes. Once the first one goes in, believe me, it's going to be a lot easier and a lot more natural just getting that hump off your back."
And the Sounders hope that's the case with wins, too.
• Hanauer said the Sounders won't likely have a friendly this summer. That would be a first for Seattle as an MLS franchise, which in past years has hosted some of the world's top teams like FC Barcelona, Manchester United and Chelsea, among others.
The city will be hosting the U.S. men's national team in a World Cup qualifier in June and then CONCACAF Gold Cup games in July, a summer schedule the Sounders are pleased with, according to Hanauer.
"A lot of our fans have said we'd rather have our team focus on league play ... and not muck up our summer with another fixture," he said.
• USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann will be in attendance Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers.