With news that Sounders FC had acquired Sammy Ochoa through the allocation order, reporters got the chance to talk to general manager Adrian Hanauer about the move.
I know many fans have been thinking the allocation process would be the way Seattle acquired goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, so I asked him about that, too.
Here’s the transcript of that conversation:
* * *
(Why was acquiring Ochoa through allocation the right move for this team?) “When Sammy came in and trialed with us, we liked him. Sigi knows him from his past. He was a player that we thought could help us out — whether still this year, we don’t know, or whether it’s next year. He’s a strong, smart forward. Good technical ability. Hits the ball hard with both feet. Has a quick release. Good in the air. We think he’ll add depth at the forward position. We were involved behind the scenes in trying to get him signed with the league in hopes that either he would drop to us or we’d be able to make a trade to move up in the allocation ranking. We ended up trading a third-round draft pick for the allocation spot of Chicago. We’re happy. We’re excited to bring Sammy in. We’ll try to get him in here Sunday and get him fit. We’ll see if he can help us out still this year.”
(Did missing out on a forward in the international transfer window affect your interest in Ochoa?) “We were interested in Sammy all along (as we were) working on trying to get him signed with the league. Probably unrelated, but you never know. If we had gotten our No. 1 target in the transfer window it could’ve affected our decision making, but we were definitely interested in Sammy all along.”
(Many fans figured a higher placement in the allocation might be beneficial in acquiring Marcus Hahnemann. How might this move affect that pursuit now that you’re at the bottom?) “Being higher up on the allocation ranking doesn’t really mean anything unless you’re No. 1. If you’re No.1, you get first choice. Other than that if a player comes through, just like with Chicago, they may or may not have wanted Sammy, but they knew that there was enough value there to take him or to trade their position. All along, Marcus has enough value that if he comes through the allocation rankings, he’s for lack of a better phrase going to be held ransom by someone. Whether we were No. 6 or down at the bottom, it really doesn’t matter because probably the No. 1 team would take him and hold him ransom until they got what they wanted or maximized the value on a trade. That’s the challenge with the allocation system. You’ve seen it in the past with Brian McBride, who came back and was taken by Toronto, who said, ‘I understand he wants to go to Chicago, but we’re not going to just let him go to Chicago. We’re going to extract something in exchange.’ If I remember right it was Chad Barrett and maybe a draft choice and some allocation money. That’s sort of where it stands relative to Marcus or any other player coming back.”
(And the timing, being that we’re near the end of the season, came into play?) “Yeah, the reality is we’re getting close to the end with the allocation ranking. Given that we were sixth, it’s unlikely that Sammy and five other players are coming back through allocation before it closes on September 15th, which is when our roster freeze date is. Given that, if there’s another player that comes through allocation, other than Chivas, someone’s going to have to make a trade to get that player.”