Photo credit: Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times
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“This is the year that if we don’t accomplish some of the things we feel we can accomplish, then you’ve got to start looking at breaking up that core.”
That was Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid before the 2011 MLS season, and for the most part of these four years, the team’s core of Fredy Montero, Osvaldo Alonso and others has remained relatively intact.
The topic of major changes came back to the forefront before the playoffs this year, and general manager Adrian Hanauer and coach Sigi Schmid were each asked before this ongoing Western Conference semifinal with Real Salt Lake if it would be time to consider breaking things up if Seattle fails to advance out of the first round for a fourth-straight postseason.
“We will for sure try to improve our team — MLS Cup or non-playoff win,” Hanauer said. “I think that you have to factor it in, but I don’t want to tie myself. We might play the best playoff series ever and lose, or we might play mediocre through the playoffs and win an MLS Cup. I want to make sure I’m balancing the result with the quality. Certainly, if these playoffs don’t go well for us, we will take that into account and try to figure out what’s going to change that in the future.”
So how much will playoff success affect the team Schmid will look to bring back in 2013?
“Everything affects everything,” he said. “What happens in this playoff series affects it. What happened in the regular season affects it. What possibilities are there after the season in terms of trades or movements? You can never say. The only thing I can say to you for sure, from all my years of coaching, is from one year to the next there are some guys that aren’t back and there are new guys that are here. Some years it ends up being more than others, but even on good teams you’re still turning over five to seven players every year. Look at teams over in Europe. Look at a Man. United. Look at a Chelsea, who was Champions League winners last year, and how many players did they turn over? So, that’s just part of the nature of the game.
“You have to know why you win. You have to know why you lose. If you get knocked out, does that mean you show blow it up? Or winning it, does that mean you should blow it up because maybe this was the (last) hurrah. That’s something that you sit down after and you evaluate. I think it’s a situation of we’ve got to evaluate the pieces and how we’ve done and continue to do well. But right now our focus is not on that, our focus is on Salt Lake.”
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What do you think? How does playoff success factor into your thinking regarding potential major changes for Sounders FC?