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September 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Sounders GM on the roster freeze, hosting a friendly in 2014, the RSL game and more

hanauer mugReporters got a chance to catch up with Adrian Hanauer, Sounders FC part owner and general manager, after Tuesday’s practice. The interview covered a number of topics from Friday’s roster freeze, to hosting a friendly again in 2014, to this week’s big game against Real Salt Lake and much more.

Here is a full transcript:

*     *     *

(On the roster freeze Friday…) “Look, we’re always in contact with other teams, we’re always looking at players and we’re always trying to strengthen the squad, so that’s about all I can say. I have no prognostication as to whether we’ll do something. But if there’s a way to strengthen the squad, we’ll try to do that. … Nothing is imminent, but we will explore things until the deadline, and if there’s an opportunity to strengthen the team, we’ll do that.”

(On if the team even has room to sign a minimum-salary player…) “No. We’re full to the rim with players and cap.”

(On if there will be a friendly next season…) “Yeah, we’re going to do an 18-game plan again — add a friendly. We don’t have the name of the team yet. We’re working on it but, again, I’ve mentioned before, these things come together, fall apart, come together, fall apart. But we like doing the friendlies. There are some fans who don’t like friendlies. There are a lot of fans who do like the friendlies, I guess by emperial evidence of the number of fans who show up for the friendlies. It’s a great opportunity. We’ve talked about measuring ourselves against global teams around the world, off the field and on the field, and this is one of those ways where we can measure ourselves. And it’s a good opportunity for the players. It’s a great opportunity quite frankly for the front office staff to interact with other clubs and share best practices. It’s not to say we will always do a friendly, but those are the types of things that went into the thinking.”

(On if the team will look to play against a great club like the Manchester Uniteds and Chelseas…) “Again, I would say a high-quality club. Given that it’s a World Cup year, it’s a little bit funky with timing and rosters, so in some ways getting maybe not one of those top eight clubs, you might end up with a stronger roster. If you’re playing it during that period of the World Cup, half of the team may be gone from some of those top clubs. So we’ll kind of weigh all those things and, as always, try to deliver great value to our fans.”

(On if there’s any update on a jersey sponsor…) “[Ed note: Hanauer checked with a Sounders spokesman next to him who said there was no update at the moment.] … I guess I don’t get to say anything. I’m forbidden from commenting.”

(On the turnaround over the past few months…) “Look, our jobs are to try and keep an even keel and rational through the craziness. A lot of people were writing us off five games into the season. A lot of people are saying we’re now MLS Cup favorites and Supporters’ Shield (favorites). Our job is to keep it even. First try to qualify for the playoffs. Next try to make it through the first round, then the second round. So it goes without saying that the team has performed extremely well over the last 21 games. I think we’re 2.1 points a game. That’s a tremendous performance, but it really doesn’t much unless we make it to the playoffs and then progress in the playoffs. Certainly happier than the alternative, but trying to keep it in perspective.”

(On playing for first place against RSL…) “It’s a big game. It’s a game for first place. It’s a game against a Western Conference rival. It’s a game against a team we’ve met in the playoffs on a couple of occasions. You can’t avoid the fact that it’s a big game, and it’s exciting that it’s a big game, but that’s it. It’s a big game and we want to get three points out of it, but we can’t, again, build it into anything else, because getting three points against Chicago was massive, getting three points against Chivas before that was massive, so we take one at a time. If we do a good job one at a time, the standings will be kind to us in the end.”

(On how many tickets have been sold…) “I do, but I’m not going to tell you. Another thing I’ve been forbidden to talk about. [Ed note: A team spokesman said an update would be provided Wednesday.]”

(On if capacity will be increased beyond what was planned this year, the RSL and Galaxy home games, to accommodate interest around Dempsey…) “I think currently the plan is to just play out the season as was anticipated, but we can change our plans. For now, that’s the current thinking.”

(On what the thinking was in putting RSL in the four-match pack with Portland, Vancouver and LA in the final regular season game…) “I think it was a couple of things. One, we were trying to spread the games out month after month after month so there weren’t two of those big games in a week’s period or a very short timeframe. And Salt Lake is a huge rival of ours, obviously. We assumed it would be a big game this time of year. Turns out it’s massive. Big rival from playoffs past, two good teams.”

| More in Sounders FC, Stop and chats


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