We here at Sounder at Heart have never made any bones about our support of the "Trophies, Not Friendlies" movement. In fact, we like to think Dave started it.
But we are also realists. We understand that there are a lot of fans who really enjoy seeing big teams come to town to play our boys in Rave Green. We don't begrudge those people, we only ask that if the season is to be interrupted it's for a good reason. Manchester United is about as good a reason as any.
Even more, the Sounders have now matured to the point where a team like United can pay a visit and won't suck up all the attention. As Aaron wrote today at SB Nation Seattle, this tour has a much different feel than friendlies of the past:
This isn't about coming out to see Manchester United in Seattle; it's about coming out to see the Sounders take on Manchester United. That might not seem like a huge distinction, but it is.
Aaron and I interviewed Sounders announcer Arlo White on Tuesday while he was at United's training session. (The interview will be played in full on Thursday's episode of Nos Audietis.) He voiced what seemed to be an honest appreciation for this kind of friendly, which is to say ones where there's a world-class team lining up and bringing their first-team players.
At this point, I'm inclined to at least see the reasoning in that line of thinking. I'd still love to get to a point where the Sounders don't feel compelled to interrupt their season to play an exhibition game, but this one seems to be working out almost perfectly. With no game on Saturday, the team has been able to focus on United without sacrificing preparation for another game. United has played the near perfect tourist, showing up when they were supposed to and posing for photo opps.
Not that anyone asked my permission, but this is a friendly Sounders fans can enjoy without feeling guilty.