Since the team hasn’t officially announced its third friendly with popular Mexican club Chivas as yet, general manager Adrian Hanauer coyly answered a question about the game hypothetically.
“If Chivas were coming to Seattle, we’d be very excited about that. Huge soccer brand. Finalist in the Copa Libertadores. It’s a team we’ve been trying to bring to Seattle for probably five years, back to the USL days. Just had not been able to for whatever reason. If in fact it does get announced, that we’re bringing Chivas to Seattle, I’ll be very excited about that.”
When asked about Seattle’s efforts to engage with the local Latino communities, he continued…
“We haven’t done as much in any demographic as we’d like to. Even with the full stadium we’d like throngs of people on waiting lists and people from every demographic completely engrossed in the product and the brand. That said I would for sure have to say we probably haven’t broken into the Latino community as much as we would like to. I’ve said this from the beginning, it’s going to be an evolution. It’s going to take time. Also, I don’t think it’s about bringing Chivas to Seattle one time. It’s not about signing a Mexican player one time. It’s about basically continuing to improve the product and play great, quality, entertaining soccer and, ultimately, I think what will really be the game-changer is when we beat teams like Monterrey in real competition on a regular basis. Again, I have this sense, I think you see it with the U.S. national team now, that second- or third-generation Latinos in this country are starting to get a little more interested and in some circumstances switch allegiances because they want to follow a winner, and the U.S. is winning now. So when the Sounders and the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy beat Chivas and Cruz Azul and Monterrey and Pumas on a regular basis, I do think there’s going to be a shift. So we’ll continue to engage the Latino community, but not pander to the Latino community.”
Lastly, when asked if there might be less of a home-field advantage Wednesday with the possibility of more opposing fans in the stands, Hanauer said, “Yeah, I think they’ll be more. I think it’ll be dramatically a Sounders home game, but I hope there are a few Monterrey fans.”
After that I had to tend to another matter, but Hanauer did talk at length about the club’s interest in Tanzania’s Africa Lyon. I’m trying to gain access to what he said to the remaining group of reporters, but from people I’ve talked to it sounds like the team has had a contact with the team and assistant coach/scout Kurt Schmid went over there to check things out, possibly to set up a pipeline of Eastern African talent to the U.S. in the distant future.