2. Brian Schmetzer knows what he’s doing
No one will deny that Brian Schmetzer is a winner, especially after three appearances and two wins in MLS Cup during the previous four seasons. However, mlssoccer.com’s Ari Liljenwall recently asked if Schmetzer is an MLS coaching legend? That sentiment is sometimes echoed throughout the Sounders fanbase also.
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In many respects, this shows how underappreciated the 57-year-old is around the league. At the same time, it alludes to his understated approach as a man who is just doing his job and doesn’t seek any extra recognition. It was this combination of being underappreciated and understated, which once again led to questions from critics ahead of the Sounders’ home opener. In particular, why was Morris not in the starting lineup, especially in the absence of the injured Nicolas Lodeiro?
In reality, though, it made perfect sense to put the young forward on the substitutes bench. It was clear during Thursday’s second leg against Olimpia that he was exhausted and still searching for match fitness. Morris himself admitted that he was angry with the decision but soon realized it was in the best interests of the club. Schmetzer is renowned for being a cerebral coach and the last thing he wanted to do was run Morris into the ground and risk him getting an injury. (Memories of Morris missing virtually all of the 2018 season are still prominent even now.)
While no one knew the Seattle native would score two goals when he came on for the second half, you could have predicted he would be both fresh and motivated. Leaving Morris on the bench with no Loderio playing was always going to be a gamble, but once again, Schmetzer proved he knows exactly what he’s doing.