Sounders’ Brian Schmetzer, Leo Gonzalez to return in 2014
Leo Gonzalez, Sounders defender of the year in 2013, signs one-year deal Monday, and assistant coach Brian Schmetzer is no longer a candidate to coach in Dallas.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The Sounders are rapidly being reshaped in a whirlwind offseason, but the team will be bringing back two mainstays for 2014.
Assistant coach Brian Schmetzer, who interviewed for the vacant coaching job at FC Dallas, is no longer a candidate and will return to Seattle, according to a team spokesman. Leo Gonzalez, voted Seattle’s defender of the year last season, signed a one-year deal Monday.
ESPNFC.com reported Sunday that Schmetzer was one of the finalists to replace Schellas Hyndman in Dallas, particularly aided by a longstanding relationship with the team’s technical director, Fernando Clavijo. No hire has been announced.
The Sounders will welcome not only Schmetzer’s return, but that of the 33-year-old Gonzalez, who had initially signed midway through the team’s inaugural season in 2009.
Last season might have been his best, as Seattle went 14-9-4 and 1.04 goals allowed per game with the Costa Rican left back in the lineup. Without him, Seattle was 1-3-3 and averaged two goals allowed.
Gonzalez, who made $135,000 last year, has played 98 MLS games for the Sounders, fifth most in team history. His 27 games in 2013 matched a career high.
• The Sounders signed goalkeeper Steve Clark on Monday but immediately traded him to the Columbus Crew for a fourth-round draft pick in 2015. Clark, a 27-year-old Michigan native, played the past four years in the Norwegian first division with Honefoss BK. He was on Seattle’s discovery list, which means the Sounders had right of first refusal on his MLS rights.
• Reports from England have indicated the Sounders are close to agreeing to a loan that would send designated player Clint Dempsey to Fulham for two months, starting Jan. 1. Dempsey, the U.S. national-team captain, has a clause in his contract for an offseason loan that was intended for this year as preparation for next summer’s World Cup. He played for Fulham from 2007 to 2012.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.