When the Seattle Sounders lined up last night to face off in a Leagues Cup match against Tigres at Lumen Field, they did so without trusted assistant Gonzalo Pineda on the touchline. Pineda has been interviewed for the Atlanta United head coaching job and was further reported yesterday to be close to signing with the Five Stripes.
First signs that there might be a departure we’re noticed pregame as a different Seattle coach was leading players in warmups typically led by Pineda.
Here is the starting line up for #Sounders warming up prior to #Tigres #LeaguesCup game.— Niko Moreno (@ELROLONW) August 11, 2021
This is something that we usually see Gonzalo Pineda doing and I don't see him at all on the field.
But it wasn’t just warmups where the Mexican international was missing. He was not on the bench or seemingly with the team at all during the match. Afterward, Sounders manager Brian Schmetzer addressed the absence with an initial statement at the top of his postgame press conference, referring to his absence as “intentional.” (So I guess we can rule out Pineda missing the team bus.)
Appreciate Schmetzer's nod on here in his initial statement after today's great win over #Tigres— Niko Moreno (@ELROLONW) August 11, 2021
Reading between the lines, I think it's clear that Gonzalo Pineda is probably finalizing or has already come to terms with #Uniteandconquer. Obviously nothing official but... pic.twitter.com/exbhS0LIRf
In addition to this conspicuous absence, both Carlos Bocanegra and Darren Eales mentioned in different public settings (Bocanegra in a press conference, Eales on a radio interview with 92.9 The Game) that they hope to have news on the coaching search ““in the near future.”
This all is seemingly pointing in one direction, but as we’ve learned, the deal is never done until you see the news coming from official team accounts.