Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back to where it all began

The Sigi Schmid era in LA may as well be ancient history. There is hardly anyone on the team around that was here when Schmid was coach. Peter Vagenas is one. Cobi Jones as well, though he's in a different role.

But Schmid's legacy only grows stronger with time as coach upon coach has come and gone with the Galaxy.

Since the two parted ways, Schmid has bounced back in a big way as he's taking his team to MLS Cup at Home Depot Center on Sunday. The Galaxy, meanwhile, won an MLS Cup title after Schmid departed but went into a downward spiral shortly thereafter.

I explored a little the resliency of Sigi Schmid in my Tuesday PE column.

During Tuesday's conference call, I asked him about his firing and whether he felt vindication now, four years after the fact. Here's the full exchange from the quote sheet the league sent out on Monday.

Q. Sigi, I was covering the Galaxy back in '04 when you were fired, and I think it was a horrible decision then and I think it's a horrible decision now that you were ever fired from the Galaxy. Couple of questions. First, do you feel any sort of vindication now that you're coming back here to the Home Depot Center back to the MLS Cup final, and also do you think that your firing was the first in the demise of the Galaxy as it were, even though they went on to win the MLS Cup in 2005?

Schmid: I mean, you know the results. The Galaxy have had over the years. Also makes me sad because I grew up in Southern California when the Galaxy was the first professional team that I coached. And I thought I would have a tenure at Galaxy like Ferguson has had and Wenger has had at Arsenal. You would hope it would go along that way. But along the way that didn't happen. You can't look back. One of the big mottos of our team is the next play and don't worry about just what happened, let's worry about what's going to happen.

And so that's where I've been focused on is to do that and go forward. The only thing from the Galaxy, the only thing that bothers me, to be very honest with you, being fired and all that, okay, it happens and as a coach you know you're going to get fired, I guess. But the only thing that bothers me was the insinuation at the time that we didn't play attractive enough soccer, that we weren't offensive enough. And that moniker was sort of hung on me and that bothers me because at the time we were the highest scoring team in the league.

And that was disappointing to me, because I felt my teams have always been reflective of, yes, we play good defense but we play good defense. And Frankie knows this, we play good defense so we can play good offense. You've got to have the ball in order to attack. If you don't play good defense you're not going to get the ball.

So we want the ball so we can attack. When you look at my teams they're maybe not the highest scoring team in the league but they're always in the top three or so in the league of scoring goals and that's what I've always wanted when I've had good teams.

That's the only thing that bothers me from those days and the rest of it is the Galaxy is on their path. That's Bruce Arena's baby now he's working at that and my baby is Columbus Crew and we're playing on Sunday and we're very excited about that.

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