Sounders set to face Galaxy, former coach Schmid (Jul 29, 2017)

BY AP • July 28, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- When the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders travel to Los Angeles for Saturday's match, they'll find a familiar face on the Galaxy sideline.

Sigi Schmid, who coached the Sounders from their beginnings in Major League Soccer through the middle of last season, when he was fired, was hired Thursday to return to the Galaxy.

Schmid, 64, the all-time winningest coach in league history with 254 victories, told reporters in Los Angeles that he has come "full circle" with the Galaxy, whom he coached from 1999-2004 and led to the MLS Cup in 2002. He coached the Columbus Crew from 2006-08 before joining the expansion Sounders in 2009.

"I'm grayer for sure," Schmid said of what's happened since that first stint with the Galaxy. "I think over the years what happens is you let less things upset you. You're more cerebral with things, but my passion and desire to win are still there. I can still get emotional as well because it's important to me and it's important that the players know that it's important to me. That part has never really changed. I'll let my assistant coaches do a lot of the work. It's important to me."

The Galaxy are 6-10-4 and in ninth place in the Western Conference, which led to the dismissal of first-year coach Curt Onalfo.

The Sounders (8-7-6), who fired Schmid a year ago this week, have won three straight games to climb above .500 and within four points of first place in the West.

Defender/midfielder Brad Evans, who played for Schmid in both Columbus and Seattle, said it won't be easy for the Sounders going up against their former coach.

"Any time you bring in a new coach, no matter who is it, your team is up for the task," Evans told the Seattle Times. "Everybody is out there proving that they belong on the field and that they deserve to be there as well."

Seattle will have forwards Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris back for the match after both were on U.S. national team duty for the Gold Cup. Morris scored the winning goal in the 88th minute as the U.S. defeated Jamaica 2-1 in the final.

Playmaking Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro also returns after serving a one-match suspension for a red card.

Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said he sent Schmid, his former boss, a congratulatory text message Thursday.

"We all felt that Sig was going to get a shot somewhere," Schmetzer told The Times. "And it's the Galaxy, where he kind of started his MLS career. So good for him.

"He knows about my players, and I know about his style. So it will be interesting."

As for what it does to the rivalry between the teams?

"It just fans some of the flames," Schmetzer told The Times. "It's another good storyline."

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