Sounders Insider

Sounders GM talks Open Cup fall and future

us-open-cup1We got a few minutes with Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer today, and realized it was our first exposure to him since the Sounders' loss at Tampa Bay in the U.S. Open Cup.

We asked if that fact -- at Tampa Bay -- meaning cross-country mid-week travel -- was relevant to the outcome.

"That’s simplifying it," he said, "but certainly getting on airplanes with layover and playing in different time zones: Statistically there’s plenty of data to support that in every sport that’s a recipe for less success. That said, it’s also an excuse, and we try not to throw the excuses out too often, or whenever we can avoid it. But it is what it is. We didn’t score more goals than them, and they move on and we don’t. And at this point – now that it’s done – we have to try to turn a negative into a positive and say, ‘OK, for the first time in our existence, we don’t have massive amounts of fixture congestion heading into the summer and toward the playoffs, and hopefully that means we can keep some guys fresh and have momentum heading into the playoffs."

Which all led to the question of what improvements could be made:

"I’m still convinced that there are many things that can improve the Open Cup – some of which cost money, some of which don’t," he said. "I havent’ been shy about saying I think they need more smart people in the room thinking about it, and strategizing and executing. That said … I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have enough information to have some good solution for, say, the travel issues. And it’s conceivable that it was the absolute best scenario. But I guess I’m not quite willing to concede that. I know (LA coach Bruce Arena) mentioned regionalizing it completely, and I think that’s simplifying it a little bit also. I think the issues are complicated, but I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I think they need more smart people in the room. If we want the tournament to be as big and successful as I think it could be, I think more smart people need to be thinking about it."