Sounders Insider

GM discusses Starfire turf, playing Timbers there

DUring our discussing today with Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer we asked about the lack of quality of the Starfire Sports Stadium turf, which has drawn criticism for U.S. Open Cup matches, including criticism from Sounders coach Sigi Schmid.

"No firm replacement plans," Hanauer said. "Obviously if we end up with a USL team playing in that stadium, if it continues to be an Open Cup venue, it needs to be addressed. I’m always slightly cautious on that because I’ve never met a coach or a player who said anything good about a synthetic field. There’s rarely a distinction: A synthetic field could be brand new and really good, and I hear the same comments about that and one that’s four years old and near the end of its lifespan. So I tend to take that with a grain of salt. But that said, we don’t want to put our players in jeopardy. We want the game to be as good an entertaining for the fans as possible and those fields do come to the end of their lifespan, and we do need to look at that surface and start to figure out when we’re going to make that change."

On why the club won't use a bigger venue for coming Open Cup match vs. rival Portland: "I don’t know whether we’d sell six, eight, 10, 12, 14,000. We’ve got another big game, which will be 60,000 plus four days later. That played into it. We’ve been pretty disciplined about staying here, creating that atmosphere like last night. We could have gone on a bit of a money grab and tried to sell some extra tickets at CenturyLink Field, and certainly our revenue would have been higher. I don’t think the atmosphere would have been better. I think it would have been worse. My guess is that still would have been in the teens in terms of crowd – best case. We just landed here. We like it. We think it’s a great small venue. Would love to have it a little bit bigger, and those are conversations we’ve had with Starfire – have had and will continue to have as well.

"By the way, back to the field: This is Starfire’s facility. We’re renters here. So they’re a big piece of that conversation as well."