The veteran coach was back for his second stint in Los Angeles, a year after he was fired in Seattle.
CARSON, Calif. — Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei admitted after this emotional night was done that he was thrilled to see the opposing team’s coach back on the sidelines.
But any joy he had for former Sounders coach Sigi Schmid making his Major League Soccer return in a second stint with the Los Angeles Galaxy was reserved for postgame congratulatory words. While Saturday night’s 0-0 draw was still ongoing, Frei’s focus needed to be razor sharp just to allow his Sounders to escape with a valued road point.
Frei’s lunging save off a header in the box by Gyasi Zardes in the 65th minute kept the fired-up Galaxy from getting on the board. And on a night when emotions, fouls, taunts, and yellow and red cards were in high volume, Frei and his teammates kept their composure long enough to avoid disaster.
“It was all business,’’ Frei said. “But by the same token, when the game over, I was really happy for Sigi, to see him on the sideline again, also here where he has his family.
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“He’s a great coach. I’ve said this before, but he means a tremendous amount to me because of the way he resurrected my career. So, it’s good to see him get another shot. And I told him he can turn things around with L.A. As much as I don’t want that to happen because we know how dangerous they are if they get into the playoffs, I (wish) him all the best.’’
It was clear early on in front 25,667 fans at the StubHub Center that this was going to be a different game than the 3-0 blowout the Sounders inflicted on the home team here back in April. The Galaxy had allowed 34 goals in 20 games — fourth worst in the league — heading into the contest, but held the Sounders to few serious chances the entire first half.
Schmid coached the Sounders from their MLS inception in 2009 through his firing last July and knows the team’s individual players about as well as any opponent can. The Galaxy seemed to frustrate the Sounders with their defensive style, while infuriating them with their physical play.
Galaxy captain Jelle Van Damme took a yellow card for tripping Clint Dempsey late in the first half of the Sounders’ veteran’s return from U.S. Men’s National Team play. Moments earlier, a hard tackle by Jermaine Jones on Nicolas Lodeiro nearly triggered a…