Not surprisingly, the reports about the Sounders closing in on Obafemi Martins dominated fans' attention today. However, there was other Sounders' news today ... on the eve of their CCL quarterfinal resolution game against Tigres.
A quick overview of some of the other things going on:
*The Sounders announced 17,600 tickets have been distributed so far for the match tomorrow at CenturyLink. And we asked Adrian Hanauer about that, especially in light of Tigres having drawn 35,000 for its home leg.
"I always wish that our Champions League games would draw bigger crowds," he said. "But I also know that we’re up against the realities of a general sports fan for whom Champions League if foreign. And I know that because I have a lot of really good friends who are huge sports fans who ask me to explain what Champions League is every time we get together. But I think over time it will continue to grow, as the tournament gets bigger, as there’s more money, as there’s more TV exposure. It’s just going to take time. We could probably do a better job of continuing to drive the message in the marketplace. We’ve spent a considerable amount of money promoting it, but it’s just been a tough sell. People plan their lives around a season ticket, often, and then to ask them to come out to another game, and then another game, and then another game – I understand people have busy lives and they can’t always do that. Hopefully we’ll maybe bump into the 20s for this game, and with a little luck we get through this game and maybe we have a chance at selling a semifinal.
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* Tigres apparently is trying to advance with something less than its usual top 11. We asked for Sigi Schmid about that:"Their coach is going to make the decisions he needs to make and wants to make," he said. "It’s very similar to what they did in the group stage, where they didn’t travel a majority of their starters on away games. There are still a lot of good players there. Obviously some of there reserves and a couple of other guys … played major minutes at Atlas before. There’s a lot of guys ... who have played a lot of minutes for them this year at times, and guys who have been Mexican youth internationals. So it’s still a quality team."
* Schmid said Steve Zakuani felt good today after full training yesterday. He said David Estrada is making strides, too.
* Hanauer clarified that teams are free to charter flights to CCL matches, but that the Sounders chose not to in the quarterfinals. He cited the cost of $100,000-$200,000 of chartering to Monterrey, vs. the small fraction of that – say, $700 or so per person for a travel party of 30 – to fly commercial.
* The club also announced changes to the start times of two home matches:
Seattle Sounders FC announced today broadcast and kickoff time changes for two matches to maximize the opportunity for both Sounders and Mariners fans to access the stadiums. The June 8 match against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC will now kickoff at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network. Kickoff for the July 20 match against Colorado has been moved to 1 p.m. PT and will be broadcast locally on KONG 6/16. The match can also be seen regionally on ROOT Sports and available in Spanish on KOMO2. To purchase tickets, visit www.SoundersFC.com or call 877-MLS-GOAL (877-657-4625). Tickets for the Seattle Sounders FC versus Tigres UANL match on March 12 are also on-sale now.