Major League Soccer

Brian Schmetzer tempers Seattle Sounders 2022 expectations

Lizzy Becherano
Brian Schmetzer hails Seattle Sounders FC ahead of 2022 season
Brian Schmetzer hails Seattle Sounders FC ahead of 2022 season / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer had tempered expectations after the team’s GM and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey said he believes the 2022 Sounders are “going to be one of the best teams we've had here.”

The coach slowed down these bold predictions, protecting his players from the added pressure of securing Major League Soccer glory.   

“So let's talk about that for a little bit, expectations,” said Schmetzer in a Tuesday call with reporters before the team flew south to Palm Springs, California, for the final preseason camp before their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 first-leg matchup with CF Motagua next week.

“I mean, 2019 we had a tremendous team, 2018 we set records at the end of the year,” he noted. “This past season, we set a record of 13 games unbeaten. We've had a great team. I would not say that this team is going to be the best all-time. We haven't even stepped on the field yet.

“You can't pile on too much,” added Schmetzer. “Players already are pro athletes, so there's that pressure, there's always 40,000 people in the building.

“We're a big club. It's one of the reasons why Albert wanted to come play for us. We're a big club, there's added pressure there. Look, it’s a World Cup year, there's a lot of guys that are vying for spots on their respective national teams … it's my job sometimes to slow it down a little bit.”

The team returns to action on February 17 against CF Motagua. While the Sounders concluded their MLS Cup run earlier than anticipated with a surprise loss versus Real Salt Lake, Schmetzer admitted that the Concacaf Champions League is the tournament in focus for 2022. 

“There is the Champions League loss, that I take very personally, in 2020,” said Schmetzer. “There are high expectations for this club. [Lagerwey] has made it one of his flags in the ground: He wants to win a Champions League competition. We certainly do, coaches, staff, players – I think that would be good for MLS, it would be a good marker …

“Champions League is a competition we want to do very well in. And so having a good team – because I agree with Garth, we do have a good team, a very good team on paper, that gives us the best chance of doing well in the Champions League, doing well in the league and ending the year on a high note in another MLS Cup final.”

Schmetzer did praise his side before ending the press conference, hailing the newcomer Albert Rusnak and leaders like Cristian Roldan and Raul Ruidiaz. 

“I'll just get right to the point. I think we’re going to be really good offensively,” said Schmetzer.

“Albert adds another dimension, he loves shooting from top of the box, his set pieces are good. He's going to add something. You're bringing Jordan back, Nico's coming back. I mean, the team looks pretty good offensively. Again, tempering expectations, it's only been training but in training they look pretty sharp.”

The team is set to kick off the 2022 Major League Soccer season on February 27 when hosting Nashville SC at Lumen Field.