Of much less a surprise was the Sounders failing to ink a third DP. I'm not sure many reasonably expected this to happen -- at least bringing one in from outside the organization -- but it's all but assured now that the team we have is the team we'll finish with. I'm of the mind that this isn't such a bad thing, and believe this team is dramatically improved from the one that started out the year.
Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer visited with the media today (sorry, I had a root canal to take care of so I didn't make it) but the always informed Joshua Mayers was there and as usual, he shared the transcript.
In referring to the team standing pat, he made it pretty clear that this was always a longshot.
"There was a lot of maneuvering that would've had to take place. There were a lot of dominoes that would've had to have fallen to actually make another move in the transfer window. So when the first and second dominoes weren't falling, it was hard to see a way to the fifth domino falling. But again, that said, our last five games we'd gotten 13 from 15 points. You also don't want to screw something up that's working, and I've talked about that before, sometimes the best moves you make are the ones you don't make."
We've already reported extensively on how seriously the front-office takes the CCL (believe it or not, #trophiesnotfriendles has always been about season tickets, not just intentions), but the extent to which the team takes the tournament was made abundantly clear. Not only did he once again refuse to underplay the team's aspirations, but he also shared the fact that the ownership is putting out-of-pocket money behind the effort by paying for a charter flight to Honduras.
He also put strength behind some of the assertions many have made that the Sounders view this tournament as a brand-building exercise.
"I think that it is our opportunity as a league to showcase ourselves regionally and internationally.
"We as an organization feel like we're giving it the right amount of respect and attention. I would hope that our partners in the league do the same.
"I think we as a league can do more to continue to promote the tournament and make it an important part of the soccer calendar. Just to give an example of that, if we as a league decide the CONCACAF Champions League is important and we're playing eight extra games jammed into the middle of the summer, then perhaps the Champions League teams in MLS need some sort of support league-wide, whether that means cap space, allocation money, roster space. There are some things that our league can do to show that it's important to us. I sit on the competition committee, those are just discussions that are ongoing. I hope to be able to push that as we move forward here. It may not ever help us but I think it's important for the league."
I've never doubted that Hanauer felt this way, but it is refreshing to see that the continent's best regional tournament is getting the treatment it deserves from teams here. That at least Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake also seem to feel this way makes me feel confident that the league is heading in the right direction.