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April 28, 2010 at 3:12 PM

A ‘friendly’ chat with general manager Adrian Hanauer

(On two international friendlies . . .) “They’ll be great games. Two fantastic teams, great histories, great fan support. Huge important franchises within each country. Obviously Boca brings a little something we haven’t seen here yet, a South American team. They must be 100-plus years old. Two very storied franchises that will bring a lot of fun to Qwest Field in May and July. It will be a great challenge again. An opportunity for us to test ourselves against some of the best teams internationally and we are looking forward to it.”

(On when the next third friendly will be announced…)
“Boy (laughs). What have you done for me lately? We’re working on it. There’s a decent chance that a third game could come even later in the fall. So we’re not quite as panicked to get that finalized. We’re trying to balance them a little bit better this year with all of our games, including Champions League. We didn’t want a pile of extra games in the summer. So I think a third one would more likely be September-October, which gives us a little more time to nail that down. But we are working on it.”
(These two games on grass of FieldTurf?) “FieldTurf.”
(Wearing the yellows?) “I think it’s likely that we’ll be wearing the electricity, yes.”


(How does World Cup play into scheduling these games?) “It did play into our discussions with teams around the world. We wanted teams that were going to bring their best players. And so in some in the conversations with some of the bigger teams around the world it was clear that half the team might be missing for the World Cup. And that didn’t sit very well with us relative to delivering for our fans. We wanted to try to find some teams that likely would not be missing significant portions of their rosters. Obviously Celtic and Boca aren’t maybe the recognizable brands of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Manchester United, but they are still huge brands worldwide and so we’re very happy to have those teams coming in.”
(On Boca Juniors . . .) “We liked the idea of going to a South American country to bring a team. The two biggest brands in Argentina are Boca [Juniors] and River Plate. We had contacts at Boca when Chris [Henderson] and I were down there earlier this year. We spent some time with them and at least began the process of putting this together. That must have been three months ago which sort of speaks to how difficult it can be to put these games together. Again, we think Boca will be an attractive game for our fans. They play a good style of football and we’re excited to be able to play against them.”
(Went to Boca’s stadium a while back with this team, what’s it like to bring them here?) “It’s big. La Bombonera is one of the great stadiums in the world. It absolutely rocks. They have maybe the best fans in the world. You’re right, both our teams have some recognition of Boca and have seen those games and now we get to bring them here and show them our fans and passion of Sounders FC soccer.”
(Opening up full capacity?) “We are definitely increasing capacity. I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly the process we’re going through to open that capacity. But we anticipate them selling a lot more seats outside of our 32,000 season-ticket holders and those extra 4,000 that we sell for most games.”
(On Celtic’s history of fan violence disturbing Seattle’s fans) “I caught wind of that this morning. This was the first I’ve heard of people being upset with Celtic coming. Soccer has been a political game over the years. And just about every team we could think of to bring has some political baggage that it carries. I was thinking about Barcelona coming last year. There’s a strong movement and conflict between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and that’s deeply rooted politically. Celtic’s been here numerous times. The fans have been great. The games have been good. We try not to get too deeply involved in politics with Sounders FC. We’re working on other games in other regions of the world. The Middle East and Israel, we’re exploring some possibilities there. That’s deeply political as well. We’re just here running a soccer team and not taking sides. We just want to provide our fans with some good, entertaining football.”

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