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June 17, 2011 at 7:33 AM

A stop and chat with Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgEarlier this week a handful of reporters caught up with Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer. Here is the transcript of that conversation:

* * *

(Nearly halfway through the regular season, how do you assess the year so far?) “I tend to agree with (what Sigi Schmid said); if you want to put a grade on it: B-minus/C-plus. I think we’ve done some things well and we’ve also struggled in some areas. We obviously want to be in a better position than we are today, but if we can somehow go into Toronto and get three points then all of a sudden maybe we’re a team that’d be leading the East and we’re in second/third in the West. All things considered I still think we’re in a pretty good place and given our anticipated plans, whether it be bringing guys back from injury or potentially (adding summer signings), I think we’ll have a good second half of the season.”

(Does it help knowing how well the team played last year in the second half of the season?) “It probably gives us little bit of confidence going into the second half. You’d never like to have to always rely on a good second half of season to show that you’re a good team. Again, we talked about that at the end of last year how we wanted to put together two very good half-season. I don’t think it’s been an atrocious half season, but it hasn’t quite been what we would’ve hoped.”

(How aggressive are you going to be in the summer transfer window?) “I’m not exactly sure what you mean by the word ‘aggressive,’ but we want to get better. We always want to get better. We will certainly not be shy about going out and signing a bigger player, as long as that player is going to make us a better team and fit in to the organization and be a good fit. We’re not going to take risks or be desperate or make knee-jerk decisions because maybe we get shut out two games in a row or because we take a few goals two games in a row. We want the decisions to be good, strategic decisions for building a championship team. So whether that means multiple players, whether it means one player, whether it means multiple players in one position versus balance throughout the roster, whether it means big money or maybe a smaller designated player or just players that fill in where we feel like we may have some deficiencies, all of that will be addressed in the process.”

(So you’re willing to go after a high-priced player, but only if they’re the right fit?) “Yeah, there are a lot of boxes we want checked if we’re going to go out and spend that kind of money, but that isn’t something that we’re unwilling to do.”

(Is forward a position where you view yourself as having some deficiencies?) “Yeah, I think forward… Interestingly enough I’m not sure there are any teams in the league today who would say, ‘We’re banging away as many goals as we’d like.’ And it goes in cycles. A team will get on a run and score 11 goals in four games and then they might get shut out four games in a row. The parity in our league, and the quality of the goalkeeping, quality of organization in the back, makes this a league very challenging to bang away 3-4 goals a game. That said, absolutely yes. We always want to be trying to find the key to scoring more goals. Part of that is it generates results and wins. Part of it is entertainment. What’s interesting though is that over the years, if you look at the relationship between the top teams in the league and the bottom teams in the league and goal scoring versus defensive quality, there’s a much stronger correlation between better defensive teams than teams that score a lot of goals. Teams that score a lot of goals tend to take in a lot of goals. So it’s a balance, but that was a very long way of saying yes. We are still interested in adding a forward, again, if he checks all the boxes.”

(Would that incoming player just fit in for this season or be a part of long-term plans?) “It could be either. Our preference is typically to try to bring someone in who wants to fit in. I’m not a big fan of mercenary players who come in, get a big paycheck for six months and then want to move on. Culturally, that’s not exactly what we’re trying to accomplish, but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible that it would happen for us.”

(How close are you going to pay attention to the Kitsap Pumas-Real Colorado Foxes game?) “Pretty closely. I think a bunch of us will be over there obviously scouting for what will be a big step towards trying to repeat and win the Open Cup again. We obviously know Kitsap quite well, but we don’t know the Colorado team very well. We know what type of game we’re probably in for, but it’ll be good to get over there and check out the atmosphere and see some old friends certainly with Kitsap.”

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