By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
RENTON, Wash. (AP) – Seattle Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said Monday the club is not ready to make a decision on the future of coach Sigi Schmid after some high-profile moves failed to yield anything beyond another early playoff exit.
Hanauer spoke at length on a conference call just a few days after the Sounders season ended with a loss against rival Portland in the MLS Western Conference semifinals. Hanauer said he expects to sit down with Schmid and majority owner Joe Roth later this week to start discussions about whether to move forward with the only coach in the club's MLS history, or if there will be a change.
"We're going through that process as of now. And there are a lot of big decisions ownership has to make over this offseason and we will take our time, be methodical, be rational, not make emotional decisions based on the pain and frustrations," Hanauer said.
For all of the success the Sounders have enjoyed off the field with their support in Seattle, it's failed to translate to success on the field in the MLS playoffs. The Sounders have been ousted in the conference semifinals in four of their five seasons and this year featured a late-season swoon that cost Seattle a shot at the Supporters' Shield and forced them to play an extra round in the playoffs.
Seattle closed the season by going winless in nine of its final 10 matches – playoffs included – capping a surprisingly poor run for a roster that featured U.S. national team players Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans. Much of the blame has fallen on Schmid, but Hanauer said there is plenty of blame to go around.
"Ultimately, it comes back to me," Hanauer said. "That said there is no questioning Sigi's resume. He is a winner. I don't agree with everything he does but he does 100 things well for the few I may not agree. And you start switching coaches you can get caught in a revolving door pretty quickly of changing coaches. I understand the emotional catharsis some people have over being able to blame someone ... but my job is to weave through really rationally what is the best decision."
Seattle finished the regular season 15-12-7 and was 7-5-3 after Dempsey's signing was announced on Aug. 3. Hanauer said it was not the best locker room the Sounders have had in their five seasons. He said the tension in the locker room built as the losing increased in the final month.
When asked about his salary cap situation for next season, Hanauer freely offered there could be significant roster turnover on the horizon. He mentioned having a strong core with Dempsey, Evans and Osvaldo Alonso, but said there would be changes.
"I think it's highly likely that Clint along with Ozzie, along with Brad Evans form a triumvirate of leaders on the team going forward," Hanauer said. "Along with a number of other guys on the team, we feel like we have a very good core going into the offseason but that doesn't change the fact we feel like we need to make some other changes to get back on track."
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