Sounders Insider

Sounders in Pierce County: PDL now ... games later?

As you may have known from the six dozen or so blog posts below, Seattle Sounders FC has joined with Pierce County's Premier Development League team, which has been renamed Sounders FC U-23s.

After the announcement, I asked general manager Adrian Hanauer why the Sounders didn't affiliate instead with the Kitsap Pumas, North Sound SeaWolves or Washington Crossfire.

He said it was in part because of pursuit by the ownership of the Tacoma team, and in part because the clubs already had a relationship due to the (former) Tacoma Tide's involvement with the Sounders Women team.

But then Hanauer got to this one: "I think there’s another benefit, which is the potential to continue to build interest in Pierce County in the Sounders in general. And I think playing (PDL) games down there with some hopefully future stars maybe brings some fans out in Pierce County to see the (MLS) team."

Hearing that Sounders FC wants to fan the flames in Pierce County, I asked Hanauer something I've been asking him now and then since the start of the franchise: Why not have the MLS Sounders play a friendly -- or U.S. Open Cup matches -- in the Tacoma Dome? That is where Alan Hinton's reborn Sounders played the early part of their 1994 season. It's a comfortable place to watch a game. Finding open dates wouldn't seem to be a problem. And the soccer capacity would be very convenient for certain competitions: notably bigger than Starfire, notably smaller than CenturyLink.

Hanauer did not slap his forehead, shout "Eureka!" and say he'd get right on it.

But neither did he rule out the possiblity.

"We haven’t had those discussions recently," he said. "It’s certainly something that we’re open to. But in all honesty, we haven’t been proactively too focused on that. We still think of ourselves as sort of a startup business, and we’re just trying to solidify ourselves in King County. So, Pierce and Snohomish -- and quite frankly the whole state -- are areas that we will want to mine. But over time, I think."