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July 6, 2012 at 2:17 PM

GM Adrian Hanauer discusses Open Cup bids, poor league form and testing fans’ patience

hanauer mug.jpgA group of reporters got a chance to catch up with general manager and part owner Adrian Hanauer after Friday’s practice and here is the transcript of that conversation:

* * *

(We just learned that you outbid Philadelphia for U.S. Open Cup hosting rights, but lost to Sporting Kansas City. Are you confident in the bid you placed?) “Yeah, you know again, the word I got was that our blind bids were identical — which is a shocker to me — and it was then decided by a coin flip. So it’s always something new to me. I’m still not sure where in the description of this process, the blind bid that U.S. Soccer was so proud of, (that it) led to a coin flip. But be that as it may, we first and foremost have a tough game with Chivas ahead of us. So if we get past Chivas, then we’ll worry about a final. Philadelphia is hosting Kansas City, and we would host Philadelphia if both Philly and Seattle win, so we will play our game and try to get through a semifinal and then deal with a final at that time.”

(One idea floated out there is having a permanent home for the Open Cup final — e.g. Kansas City — have you heard any of this?) “I think it’s a great idea. I’d love to see the Open Cup final in Kansas City every year. I’m just kidding. … I hadn’t heard that. If the state of Kansas wants to be become a $10 million sponsor of the U.S. Open Cup, I think that’s a great idea. Otherwise I think there are probably some better solutions.”

(You’ve now had all the coin flips and closed bids in this Open Cup process. How do you think it has compared the previous years?) “I still think the Open Cup is broken. It’s my personal opinion. I think that it can be so much more as a tournament with a bunch of concerted effort and brain power and some money thrown at it. But the details are behind us. It’s all about playing the games now, and hopefully our team will be up for the game on Wednesday and then be able to play in another final.”

(Is the bid simply a single figure? Is that the entire process?) “No. I think it’s pretty broad, but a compelling financial presentation. So as you can imagine, that might include a guarantee, it might include a percentage, it could include marketing, it could include hotel rooms — it could include a whole host of things, but we’re not going to get into the specifics of how we bid.”

(But it’s involved enough where identical seems unlikely…) “It does to me. Yeah.”

(Especially since you ended your bid with 26 cents, right?) “Exactly. (laughs) We should’ve done that. Good one. We’ll do that next year.”

(Are you OK sacrificing some league results to make another deep Open Cup run?) “No. There’s never been a discussion of sacrificing anything — sacrificing a win in Open Cup to get a league win, sacrificing a league win to get an Open Cup final.”

(Does a deep Open Cup alleviate any feelings of league form?) “No. I don’t mean to sound insincere, and it’s great that we’re in the semifinals of the Open Cup, but it sucks that we’ve had a run of nine without a win. So one isn’t making the other seem less painful or alleviating any of the urgency to start collecting more points.”

(At any point do you start calling these must-win games?) “I mean, look, at some point in the season, math dictates games are must wins, but we’re not at that point in the season. As (coach Sigi Schmid) always says, points count the same at the beginning of the season, in the middle of the season and at the end of the season. So we just need to keep focusing on collecting points and not get to a position where games are must wins in order for us to make the playoffs and hopefully finish in a position to host some games.”

(The fans have been so supportive, are you getting more feedback than usual asking what’s going on?) “Look, I’m a fan. (Majority owner Joe Roth is) a fan. We’re all fans. Yeah, first-hand knowledge — there is more grumbling. It just happens when you lose, and it’s warranted. Just like I think when you’re 7-1-1 fans sometimes will talk to me and maybe have an unrealistic view of how good we are, going 0-4-5 fans have an unrealistic view sometimes of how bad we are. And so, for sure when you’re losing you hear more grumbling, and it’s the nature of the business we’re in. It’s ultimately about wins and losses. That said, again, our fans have been fantastic, but we don’t want to test them. We don’t to test their loyalty anymore than sort of the normal ebbs and flows of a high-level team in this league. We’re testing them, we’re pushing them right now. We’d like to turn that around and reward them for that support, as well.”


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