Boca Juniors concluded their U.S. tour Saturday with a 3-2 loss at second-division Portland. The loss sent the Argentine club home with an 0-3 record after having been outscored by a total of 7-2 against the Galaxy, Sounders and Timbers -- including a 3-0 loss at Seattle.
Frankly, I was a little disappointed in Boca's effort up here. For all their talk about representing that 50-star crest, they didn't have their top players, didn't start their top young talent, and didn't really seem all that interested. Certainly it was fun for local fans to see the famous club, and to see the home team score three goals. But those three goals may be evidence about how little Boca cared.
However, I ran that past Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer today, and he didn't really seem displeased with the club he brought to town.
"I’m certain with their season over, some of their players were maybe not taking it as serious as they would if it were preseason." he said. "But I know our guys – and every time we step on the field, we’re proud and want to win and we’re playing for contracts and for the badge. And so, again, I can’t put myself in the minds of their players and know the exact mentality. I do know they came here wanting to win three games. I’m sure they’re not losing sleep over losing the games. But I thought the quality of soccer was actually pretty good. Maybe they didn’t have that killer last drive in the box. But I thought that the soccer was entertaining. I haven’t heard any feedback that our fans were not entertained by the game."
With that game finished, I also was interested in whether Hanauer would prefer in future seasons to bring in clubs preparing for their coming seasons rather than -- as was the case with Boca -- teams touring soon after the conclusion of their previous season.
"No, not necessarily," he said. "I watched the AC Milan-Chicago game last night. I thought it was entertaining.
"It’s for entertainment. Until a European comes to the U.S. and it’s a regular-season game that counts in their standings, you’re just not going to get that level of intensity. But these games for us are about entertaining our fans, giving ourselves a chance to measure ourselves mentality-wise, but also skill-wise against some of these teams. Nothing was determined from that (Boca) game that makes me think our strategy is wrong."