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Adrian Hanauer says Rainiers/Sounders Reserve game is initial exploration of USL PRO concept

After today's practice General Manager and minority owner Adrian Hanauer spoke with Sounder at Heart about what he hopes to learn from the Sounders Reserve match at the Tacoma Rainiers' Cheney Stadium.

Courtesy of the Tacoma Rainiers

Today's announcement that one game will be played at Cheney Stadium is significant, but it is also only an exploration of the concept of how a Seattle Sounders USL PRO team would work if located relatively close to the First Team. Hanauer indicated that the team is considering many options to expand its Reserve Team with Tacoma being one of those. Part of the reason so many options are being considered are the very limited number of soccer only stadiums in Washington. None will be the perfect solution, but there are many ideas being explored.

SaH: What do you need to see from the single match partnership with an eye towards a future decision?

Hanauer: We want to understand how a USL team in Tacoma may interact with an MLS team in Seattle. It's not necessarily Tacoma. It could be Everett, could be Spokane, could be Yakima, or somewhere outside of the Seattle market. We want to see if there is the opportunity to build a separate business. It's very much modeled off the Major League Baseball-AAA model.

A couple other alternatives are - we could try to do something at Starfire with a continuation, but building on our Reserve team here; we could also pick another market outside of the area altogether and try to form a partnership that way. There are advantages and disadvantages to doing things that are geographically advantageous as opposed to outside of the market.

In terms of big picture that's what we're looking at. Certainly we want to see more specifically how Cheney lays out and works out for a soccer game. If fans come out and they support it. We'll get feedback from the fans and start to try to get our arms wrapped around the optimal scenario for a USL partnership.

SaH: What are the challenges finding a field to use whether baseball or American football?

Hanauer: It is not optimal. The optimal is that we find the perfect market, the perfect soccer only facility that has great infrastructure for fans. One that's really convenient and lots of people want to come out. There is an optimal, but unless there's something out there that we haven't found I don't think we're going to get optimal. So it's tradeoffs at that point. Although it certainly works in baseball stadiums. It is not optimal for viewing. It is not optimal for the field. But Cheney is a beautiful stadium so that's a huge positive.

Hanauer also referred to this stage as an exploration of the concept and that Orlando City being the opponent was primarily about the date of the match and field availability.

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