The seven-game winless run has not gone unnoticed by Seattle Sounders leadership. I had a chance to catch up with Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer earlier this week and he made it very clear that something is going to have to change. That might be the Sounders simply playing better, but he's clearly not ready to just sit on his hands and hope that happens.
"We are always looking to improve the team but I’d be lying if I said after this run of seven games that we’re not more willing to consider any and all options for getting it squared away than we were seven games ago," he said. "It’s just not acceptable on multiple fronts."
To that end, Hanauer and Chris Henderson were recently in Argentina to catch some of the Copa Libertadores, watching Boca Juniors take on Universidad de Chile, among others. He said they were scouting about six players, some of whom would be potential Designated Player targets, others who were not.
It will probably come as little surprise to those of us who have been trying to read the tea leaves, but the underlying message is that one of the Sounders' three DPs is going to have to be moved if any significant changes are to be made. While Alvaro Fernandez is the most obvious candidate to be transferred, Hanauer made it sound like no one's job is secure in the current state.
"We're not going to panic and do anything stupid, but we are looking at all options," he said.
The only rumor Hanauer addressed directly was the Sounders' pursuit of Christian Tiffert, about whom he said, "Christian is a player who we really like. We’ve watched him a signficant amount and done a lot of due diligence on him."
From the sound of it, Tiffert would likely require some kind of transfer fee from Kaiserslautern and would almost certainly be a Designated Player.
None of this probably comes a huge shock, but it's clear that Hanauer is none too pleased with the current slide. He identified no fewer than 10 areas where he thought the Sounders could improve, even marginally, and see a significant improvement. Those things ranged from his own decisions all the way down to the way the team is training. He didn't give specific examples of any one thing the Sounders were doing poorly, but made it clear everyone in the organization could benefit from taking a critical look at what they are doing.
If you're interested in reading more about our conversation, check out my story on MLSsoccer.com.