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March 2, 2013 at 10:53 PM

Full comments from Sigi Schmid, Adrian Hanauer on the buyout of DP Christian Tiffert

Seattle Sounders FC LogoSIGI SCHMID, head coach

(What did you not see from Christian Tiffert in the seven months he was here to make you want to keep him around?) “It’s a situation of we’re still looking to add a player up front, and with that situation — with cap reasons and everything else — we couldn’t carry those amounts of DPs. We had to make a decision as to who we were going to carry and who we weren’t. So that was the decision.”

(Did he underperform in your opinion here with the Sounders?) “No, I thought Christian did well for us. I thought it was just more a situation of where we were at cap-wise, and we really had to go from three DPs to two. I know Shalrie is a DP in name, but he’s not a DP in terms of how he hits our cap, and we really needed to go from three DPs to two. [Ed note: Chivas USA is paying some of Joseph’s salary] We decided we were going to keep Mauro and we decided that we needed to add a DP forward, so that takes care of your two DPs, so you have to make a decision.”

(Any update on that forward pursuit?) “Not at this time.”

ADRIAN HANAUER, general manager and part owner

(Can you explain what went behind the Christian Tiffert buyout?) “Sigi was dead on. We had some tough decisions to make coming out of last year. We knew that it was possible that this would be one of them. Christian had started to play more as a wide midfielder for us, and we’ve got Zakuani, Rosales and Mario Martinez playing wide midfield, and we had to make decisions on … where we were going to use our designated player money and for which positions. Sigi answered dead on. This was not an issue of Christian not performing or being a good teammate. I read something of Sigi and him having a falling out, which is just absolutely, categorically untrue. It was just a situational thing with the cap and where we thought we needed to invest big designated-player dollars.”

(Would you say signing Tiffert ended up being a mistake?) “Look, anytime you buy out a player, you probably have to admit some sort of flaw in the plan. That said, we also made a strategic change in the way we think our designated players come December of this past year, where we said we’re going to try and maybe invest a little bit more in one or two. So our strategy changed, as well. Not to make excuses, but it’s a tough league to manage through the cap — salaries increase faster than the cap increases, especially on a team that does well, because either you’re restructuring contracts, guys’ contracts expire, or bonuses that players hit because your team is good count against the cap. You saw Real Salt Lake run into it. They obviously didn’t have designated players necessarily, but I know they weren’t happy to lose Olave and Espindola and Will Johnson. Those are three pretty quality players, but it was sort of the reality of the situation. We want to keep certain players, certain core players and unfortunately Christian was one that was sort of dealt the short straw I guess.”

(In general, does getting rid of Tiffert indicate you feel someone else is coming in quickly?) “I would say they’re related, but not … completely related, for lack of being more eloquent, because in order to have another designated player we had to move a designated player, but it doesn’t (mean that) tomorrow morning we’re going to have another announcement. It’s a fluid and complicated jigsaw puzzle, but obviously from the reports, from what I’ve told you guys, we’re trying to sign a striker and we’re hoping we can get that over the finish line. If we can, fantastic. I guess if we can’t, we’ll go to Plan B.”

(Fair to say the pursuit of that striker hasn’t ended?) “Correct.”

(When you say, “If it doesn’t go through…” has that become of a likely scenario recently?) “No. Not necessarily. But again, it’s a complicated transaction and a player that the team doesn’t want to lose.”


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