Sounders Insider

Hanauer says no decision on 2012 friendlies

"We have not decided what we’re going to do next year," he said. "I think the only thing that we have decided is if we do it we need to do a better job of thinking about the entertainment that we provide our fans on our side of the equation. As Sigi said, if we had it to do over again, I think we would have played our starters longer and played it a little differently. In the past, it’s interesting, because when we played Barcelona and Chelsea at halftime those teams brought on a lot of young players and we were able to use our young players and still provide entertainment and it wasn’t a thrashing. Obviously that didn’t pan out (Wednesday) night. We’re certainly licking our wounds and reassessing things but we haven’t made any conclusions."

The Sounders haven’t been alone in their trouble against top-level European competition. Over the first week of the World Football Challenge, Man U beat New England, 4-1; Real Madrid beat Los Angeles, 4-1, and Manchester City beat Vancouver, 2-1.

I asked if MLS is being too ambitious in taking on the great clubs of the world.

"I don’t think the league is being too ambitious," he said. "But there’s a very stark reality that we all have to face. To some degree you get what you pay for. A $3 million payroll against a $300 million payroll, it’s going to go the way of the $300 million payroll a whole lot of the time. But I still think it’s good to continue to challenge ourselves. And perhaps as overly ambitious as it may be hoping to win those games on a consistent basis, I think it’s equally beneficial for the players to realize how far we have to go and to learn from some of those (butt) kickings. There are going to be some positives and there are going to be some negatives. The league overall, probably at a certain point after this world football challenge, will look at it again as well and say, ‘OK, is this a net positive or a net negative?’

"As painful as it was for me, and as humiliating as it was on one level, we paid a lot of money to bring Manchester United in and to experience some of their greatness. And we certainly got our money’s worth in that regard."