Reporters got a chance to catch up briefly with Sounders FC general manager and part owner Adrian Hanauer after Thursday’s practice, mainly to discuss there being NFL lines on the CenturyLink Field surface for Saturday’s playoff game against Portland.
A couple other topics came up, too.
Here is a transcript:
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(What should the fans be prepared for in terms of NFL lines on the field Saturday?) “Yeah, they should be prepared for a football field pretending to be a soccer field. It’s the unfortunate reality of a two-professional-team stadium with the timing. We probably could’ve avoided this if we had done a little better job collecting points toward the end of the season, but it is what it is. It’s still going to be FieldTurf. It’s still going to be 114 by 74. It’s still going to have two goals, an 18-yard box with a midfield line and stripes. Obviously we’ve had five years of doing a pretty good job of managing it and making sure that we don’t have football lines, just I think maybe the one playoff game last year where we had some football lines. And we’re not happy about it, but we’re going to have to make the most of it.”
(This is in no way a choice, right?) “The only way around it is creating massive risk for a nationally televised NFL game. Again, in the weighed risk, I understand why this is where we’re at with this solution. That said, we are going to continue to push and try to figure out ultimately over time whether there are technologies, work force opportunities, creative solutions to never have this happen, but for now, it is what it is.”
(Is the issue that the paint needs time to dry or you can’t physically change it quickly enough?) “It is the paint not drying and the risk of bad weather causing even bigger problems. I understand we have weather reports, but all of a sudden if it started dumping rain for a bunch of hours, it could cause even bigger problems than the lines not being dry. There could be lines not actually being crisp and well laid out.”
(Do you allow yourself to take a step back and see what this Sounders-Timbers matchup can do for the league?) “I can step back and certainly appreciate that from a neutral standpoint it’s a big matchup for the league — great history, great rivalry, derbies with fans traveling from city to city. When you look at the national footprint, for sure in the soccer world this is a big matchup, a big rivalry. Sometimes I wonder if you’re in New York City or Boston, if you barely know where Seattle and Portland are. We’ll see how reflective it is in terms of ratings and how much attention it gets nationally, but for sure if you’re in the Northwest, this is a pretty massive matchup. And so we’re looking forward to it. At the same time, it’s more step in trying to take steps toward winning an MLS Cup. Obviously it’s a massive two-game series and it’s another hurdle we have to get over to accomplish our goals.”
(What did you make of attendance against the Rapids? Might demand affect capacity at the stadium for Saturday?) “I thought it was good. The reality is that selling these games with two days notice or three days notice is tough. I imagine you’ll see how tough it is — Halloween, as well — in Houston tonight. All things being equal, 32,000, I actually thought that was pretty darn good. I think we anticipate a bigger number on Saturday. And the configuration, I don’t know what we’re planning. I assume we’re planning something in the neighborhood or our normal-game configuration.”
(Would you turn away people or will you always open tarps?) “I’m not sure we’ve made that decision. If we get close to having to make that decision, that’s when we’ll finally decide.”