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August 16, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Chatting with Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer

(On the transfer window helping the team) “I think our team got better for a number of reasons. The moves in the transfer window, but also some of the work the coaching staff and the players have been doing over the months have begun to pay dividends. Our preparation, our focus, our mentality has gotten a lot better. It’s always hard to figure out what the single move or impact may have been. I tend to not think of it in those terms and think that it usually is a compilation of several factors. I think it is in this case. That said, we need to continue to get better. We need to get that goal against a team like Chivas and close it out and make sure we secure all the points. We’re still not out of the woods to making the playoffs, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. Obviously on our way to Honduras to start a big Champions League competition as well.”

(Were there any possibilities for another move in the last few days?) “There was a lot of maneuvering that would’ve had to take place. There were a lot of dominoes that would’ve had to have fallen to actually make another move in the transfer window. So when the first and second dominoes weren’t falling, it was hard to see a way to the fifth domino falling. But again, that said, our last five games we’d gotten 13 from 15 points. You also don’t want to screw something up that’s working, and I’ve talked about that before, sometimes the best moves you make are the ones you don’t make.”

(On scouting the personalities of Blaise and Alvaro to anticipate them fitting into the team, is that important?) “For sure. We want good soccer players, but that’s only a piece of the equation. You need guys that have good mentality, good character, fit in to the group, play a style of soccer that will meld with the group we’ve got together. I’d love to say we’re going to bat 1.000 on that, but the fact is we’re going to miss. Sometimes missing only means a player takes longer to get adjusted before they start contributing. The great thing about Alvaro and Blaise is they’re contributing already and they’re just going to continue to contribute more and more as they get more fully integrated. I don’t know if you saw (New York coach Hans) Backe’s comments about Marquez and Henry getting totally adjusted to the system. Someone asked him when that will be completed, and he said, ‘Next year.’ I’m not sure I’d go to that extreme, but it does it takes a while. Alvaro doesn’t speak the language, hasn’t gotten into an apartment yet, doesn’t have a car yet, is getting used to the food, probably knows his teammates names by now, but it’s hard. So once all of those things get sorted through, I think he’ll obviously be a bigger contributor.”

(On importance of CCL) “To me and the organization, its huge. I’m a huge fan of this tournament. I think that it is our opportunity as a league to showcase ourselves regionally and internationally. We as an organization feel like we’re giving it the right amount of respect and attention. I would hope that our partners in the league do the same. I think we as a league can do more to continue to promote the tournament and make it an important part of the soccer calendar. Just to give an example of that, if we as a league decide the CONCACAF Champions League is important and we’re playing eight extra games jammed into the middle of the summer, then perhaps the Champions League teams in MLS need some sort of support league-wide, whether that means cap space, allocation money, roster space. There are some things that our league can do to show that it’s important to us. I sit on the competition committee, those are just discussions that are ongoing. I hope to be able to push that as we move forward here. It may not ever help us but I think it’s important for the league.”

(On establishing yourself in other areas) “We think that is an area of the world that we’ll continue to scour, Central America, South America, certainly the Caribbean as well. Leo obviously has come in and done extremely well for us, and I think having players from Central America, South America helps when we go and plan these tournaments — when Fredy and Leo and Ozzie and that group go down to Central America and Mexico, they do speak the language. The food may be a little closer to what they’re used to and culturally they get it, and the style of football, they’ve seen it and they know it, and it does help.”

(Why did you decide to charter to Honduras? Is it common or is it a sign of you taking it seriously?) “I think it’s a combination. We have a responsible business to run, first and foremost, but we combine that with wanting to take care of our players as best as possible. Getting to San Pedro Sula is not an easy proposition, so we decided to spend the money to charter. Toronto did the same for their game against Montagua, turns our they had a little roundabout way, where they had to fly into San Pedro Sula and then bus to Tegucigalpa. But we do take it seriously, we’re willing to invest in it. At the same time, chartering airplanes is extremely expensive, so we have to do it intelligently.”

(What are the MLS rules on charters?) “Two roundtrips.”

(Have you determined those yet?) “Nope.”

(Any update on the third friendly?) “Next week. We’re announcing it.”


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