After watching the Palos Verdes Peninsula’s Kevin Hartman, the former Galaxy goalkeeper, and Lawndale’s Kei Kamara, who was playing against former club Houston, help Kansas City to a 1-1 draw today against the Dynamo, I’d be remiss in not acknowledging the exploits of another South Bay boy this weekend.
Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid, who grew up in Torrance and still owns a home in Manhattan Beach, beat perhaps the league’s best team, his former club Columbus, 1-0 at their home ground Saturday, breaking an unbeaten streak there that began under him.
Schmid, a devout Catholic, doesn’t have a vindictive bone in his body, but you can be sure he relished beating a team he built and won an MLS Cup with as if to say to his former bosses “look what you’re missing.”
Schmid was hurt when the Crew ownership took their sweet time offering him an improved deal in their MLS Cup-winning season and jumped at the chance to coach for a much more appreciative management in Seattle.
It’s also Schmid’s second win this year on a former team’s turf – the Sounders beat the Galaxy 2-0 in mid-August at Home Depot Center, you”ll recall – so from a personal point of view you can’t get much better than that.
Columbus fans won’t let management forget about the significance of this massive result, much as Galaxy fans incessantly point out that Schmid had the Galaxy in first place in MLS when he was fired (whether that team was playing attractive football or not is a separate question).
The manner of the victory underlined Schmid’s extensive MLS experience that no other coach in the league can match.
Schmid and his coaching staff helped Kasey Keller save a certain goal with their insider knowledge of Guillermo Barros Schelotto and his penalty kick taking technique.
Read more about that in this game story.
Now, the main reason Schmid will savor this weekend’s victory, of course, is because it puts his team in a much more advantageous position in this year’s tight playoff race.
A press box colleague of mine recently suggested Seattle might even miss the playoffs, but that’s looking most unlikely now.
And the victory keeps alive the possibility the Sounders could play in the title game before their incredibly enthusiastic fan base (and would we see the entire stadium sell out in that case?).
And from a journalistic point of view there couldn’t be a better story than that – unless the Sounders faced the Crew and Schmid won his second successive MLS Cup at the expense of his former employers.