Latest Sounders signing is super... but Sigi's not the savior

Tomorrow the Sounders will unveil the worst-kept secret since... well, their last major announcement, the signing of Ljungberg as Designated Player. Funny how these things leak ahead of time.

In any case, at 11 AM PT Sigi Schmid will officially be given the reigns to Seattle's newest sports franchise. He will immediately inherit a fan base nearly large enough to fill Columbus Crew stadium to capacity. Many of these fans have high expectations - after all, Sigi did just mold the Crew into the best team in MLS this year. But those should be tempered. Sigi does have the pieces necessary to recreate his success with Columbus (and the Galaxy prior to that), but it will take time. And he might not be in Seattle long enough to finish the job.

As Crew blogger Bill Archer points out, Sigi has long had his eye on the US National Team job. He has twice coached the U-20 USA team, and having accomplished just about everything possible in MLS - and some of it twice - there's only one challenge remaining on his coaching checklist. Plus the Nats job would allow him to be based out of his current residence in Southern California. If being close to home was a factor in his choosing Seattle over Columbus, it certainly would be if the USA job became available. And should the current USA coach, Bob Bradley, be fired after the 2010 World Cup, you'd have to expect Sigi to want to take over.

So would two years be enough time for the silver-haired Schmid to create a winner in Seattle? His track record is mixed. His first year Galaxy squad were the regular-season's best team in 1998, but his first two years with the Crew produced zero playoff appearances. So it might not be crazy to expect a playoff team in 2010, but maybe a touch optimistic. As for 2009... well, we can dream.

To avoid running the risk of appearing like too much of a downer, here are three reasons that Sigi's signing is still a big positive.

- If Sigi adds on USL Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer as an assistant, two years might be the perfect period for Schmetz to learn the ins and outs of MLS. Then when Sigi goes, Seattle has a perfect replacement lined up.
- Sigi's biggest strength is his knowledge and usage of young American players. His record with international players is a bit more mixed. But GM Adrian Hanauer has a notoriously good eye for int's, having signed Le Toux and Nyassi as well as Maykel Galindo a few years ago. The two should compliment each other.
- Sigi was the best coach available. You can't argue with that!

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