Sounders Insider

GM on Sounders passing on ICC

Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey gave this explanation today on the club's decision to skip the International Champions Cup, which instead will come to Seattle with a pairing of Manchester United and Club America:

"(There were) couple of reasons. First off the Champions League stuff, which we’ve talked about from Day One. We feel like if you’re going to succeed inthat competition you have to take it very, very seriously, up to and including trying to win a high seed in the group stage to hopefully avoid Mexican teams in the quarterfinal round, or avoid the best team depending on how one defines that. So we wanted to play Club Tijuana and we wanted to avoid schedule congestion. So with the Champions League games in the summer, we did not want more games in the summer and we wanted to play a Mexican team because we wanted to prep for the Champions League run. So that stuff is all competition related. The logistics of this particular tournament are also complicated in that that week we obviously have a match the day after that game, and there’s a One Direction concert I think two days before.

"... The strategic choice was if we’re going to focus on Champions League, if we’re going to have Open Cup – where, obviously, the Sounders have made deep runs the last couple of years – we weren’t willing to take on more games. We wanted to focus on Champions League, we want to win that tournament, and if you look at some of the extraordinary things that Montreal has done – obviously now they’re in the Champions League final tonight; pretty exciting for the league to have somebody there – I’m telling you it makes a difference, it matters, if you’re willing to go above and beyond to prepare for those Champions League games, to prioritize them, and this is part of that. If you play a Champions League game as your sixth game in 18 days – which potentially we were looking at if you add three games in this tournament – that’s not the ideal preparation for (CCL) if you want to get a high seed, if you want to try to win the tournament."

On if this is a better way of having great teams in Seattle rather than a straight Sounders friendly: We would like every big international soccer team to come through our home. We want to be a part of it. We’re involved at least tangentially with the production. Club America is going to come out and train at Starfire at some point. Yes. Am I categorically opposed to friendlies? No, but I prefer friendlies with a purpose, and I much rather play for trophies than play friendlies. You always have to balance. That’s my competitive viewpoint. If there’s the right deal out there, so you take that into account? Of course you do. These games have gotten more and more expensive to put on, so I’m certainly not going to pick a game that’s not a good business deal for us as well, if you’re talking about a friendly.