A little less than a month after the Sounders won their second MLS Cup title, the league honored Garth Lagerwey, Seattle’s general manager and president of soccer, with its MLS Sporting Executive of the Year award.

Lagerwey, who came to the Sounders before the 2015 season, assembled the teams that won the two titles and made a third appearance in an MLS Cup final. Seattle also made the postseason for the 11th straight season in 2019.

(Rich Boudet / The Seattle Times)
Sounders win MLS Cup 2019

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“It’s an honor to be recognized for this award, and I’d like to thank my family, as well as everyone at the organization that helped make this possible,” Lagerwey said. “For the past five years we’ve been building a system that not only ensures First Team success, but has also developed all other sporting aspects of the club to provide for our future in a sustainable way. I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve accomplished and look forward to what comes next.”

Lagerwey, who grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois, joined the Sounders from Real Salt Lake, where he was general manager from 2007-2015. In his playing days, he was a goalkeeper for Duke University from 1991-1994.

Victor Rodriguez says goodbye

The Sounders declining to pick up MLS Cup MVP Victor Rodriguez’s 2020 contract option was a sign the midfielder’s time in Seattle was likely coming to an end. And Monday, he posted on Instagram saying goodbye to Seattle, the Sounders and their fans, apparently confirming his time with the Sounders is done.

“After a few weeks of the MLS Cup, the tough moment to say goodbye is here,” Rodriguez wrote. “But also THANKS, thanks to the Sounders community, to administrative, medical and coach staff, obviously my teammates and our fans, of course! Thank you for making me enjoy our football and thanks a lot for your love these two and a half years. It’s hard to say goodbye when you’ve had so much love, but the family is always first and the most important for me!”

Rodriguez scored a goal in the 76th minute of the Sounders’ 3-1 win at CenturyLink Field for the MLS Cup title. The Spanish midfielder signed with the Sounders in 2017 but was often injured, making his contract option refusal unsurprising. Rodriguez, 30, also told media after MLS Cup he wanted to return to his native country to continue his career by his young family’s side. The Designated Player had a base salary of $1.1 million this season, according to the MLS Players Association.

“We needed to do the right thing for his family,” Lagerwey said in late November about essentially letting Rodriguez go.