Categorized | Commentary

In Defense of Hanauer

Posted on 14 August 2011 by Britt Ruby

Today, Josh Mayers at the Seattle Times tweeted that the Sounders would not take advantage of the summer international transfer window. We all know that it’s not for lack of trying. Adrian Hanauer has stated publicly that he was “working frantically” trying to bring in a top-talent target forward but that he wouldn’t bring in a player that was too expensive or a poor fit for the team.

Sounders supporters have formed two camps around this issue: one saying that this is further evidence of Hanauer’s limited ability as an MLS-level GM, and a second saying that Hanauer used sound reasoning and handled the situation as well as anyone could have.

In reality, both these viewpoints have a measure of validity but are far too strong.

Hanauer is the leader of the FO and is responsible for roster construction. The reality is that he put together a roster that has been competitive at the MLS level from day one. He put together the roster that won the USOC and made the playoffs in the Sounders’ inaugural season, then again last year. He has them poised to make another run at the USOC, the MLS playoffs, and the CCL.

Adrian Hanauer has earned our trust.

Having said that, this failure to bring in an international top-caliber target forward IS a statement on his job performance.  The Sounders clearly have a need and have the DP slot and cap room available. Several players around Europe and elsewhere are available. For whatever reason, Hanauer was unable to complete a deal.

But this one failure, in this one situation, for this one need, does not negate all the excellent work Hanauer has done.

Hanauer should not bring in a player for the sake of doing it. He should not overpay for anyone. He was almost certainly willing to slightly overpay on a short-term deal because of the benefit of progression through USOC, CCL, and playoffs.

I have developed a great deal of trust in our GM and you should too. He has earned our trust over the last 2 ½ years. Obviously, we want a big-time TF to pair with Montero. But more than that, we should all want the Sounders to maintain depth in the roster with long-term young talent supplemented with short-term vets. Above all, we should want the Sounders to maintain a strong viable business that will last for generations.

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