It's a little early to be telling the tale tale of the Sounders first season, but here' an early shot from today's paper.
And even though it's a fairly long piece, those 800 words weren't near enough. So, here are some of the words that didn't get in:
ADRIAN HANAUER on when he started thinking this might be a good team:"You never know. But when I looked at the players that we had coming into camp – a combination of the USL players, the expansion draft, the college draft and some of the free agents we picked up internationally, coupled with some of the shrewd moves that Sigi made bringing in Tyrone and Patrick – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the quality of some of the individual names and say OK these are some good players. Then, given that we had Sigi as head coach, I just assumed that we would get the combinations and the chemistry right to be successful. I didn’t know we’d win an Open Cup, I didn’t know we’d qualify for playoffs, but our first press conference when we announced the team I talked about the type of players that we were going to bring in, and it maps very closely with the creativity, the speed, the intelligence on the field, some of the bravery and character – that overriding, overarching, overused adjective."
HANAUER on signing Kasey Keller and Freddie Ljungberg:"I think Kasey and Freddie have performed as well as I knew they were capable of, but certainly better than I 100 percent was sure of. These were two very talented successful players, but you never know for sure how they’re going to fit in, and they’ve been great, obviously."
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KASEY KELLER on when he knew this might be a good team:"I knew early on in preseason that we had some ability. Then we were able to bring in a little bit of experience with Tyrone (Marshall) and then bringing in Jhon (Kennedy Hurtado). So I knew that we had a decent team and that we were just lacking a little bit in the back. And I think that those acquisitions truly solidified the team.
"But you don’t know. Look at the Seahawks. The Seahawks were undefeated in preseason. You don’t know until you start the real season, and we were just happy that we were able to get off to such a good start."
FREDDIE LJUNGBERG on his top memory so far:"When we won the (U.S. Open) Cup, I think that’s an amazing achievement, to win something in your first season. I think maybe the biggest memory would be the fan support, what a great atmosphere we’re having. Maybe that’s what I’ll take with me the most."
SIGI SCHMID on the expansion success: “I think we checked all the boxes. As I said early in the season you have to make sure you get some quality players from the expansion draft which we did with guys like (Brad) Evans and (James) Riley and (Peter) Vagenas and so forth. I think you have to do well with your foreign signings which I think we have done with Ljungberg and (Fredy) Montero and Hurtado. I think you also have to get somebody from the draft and we did that with (Steve) Zakuani, picking up a key player. Then we signed some good free agents. We were able to check off all the boxes. I think some of the other expansion teams haven’t necessarily done that. The other thing is the ownership has been good about being patient, not panicking at midseason and trying to make a bunch of midseason signings. We signed Leo (Gonzalez), which was one that we felt could help us at outside back. We also feel confident in the core we are starting to build.”