RENTON – Sounders FC ran through its second training session of the new season Saturday, while general manager Adrian Hanauer confidently surveyed the talent assembled during the offseason.
“We’re very comfortable with this group,” Hanauer said. “I don’t see a lot of weaknesses out there. And so, (will) we win an MLS Cup? I don’t know, but I certainly know this group is capable of winning an MLS Cup.”
At the end of last season, Hanauer voiced fears that the MLS salary cap might force him to choose between keeping the heart of the 2011 team together or bringing in fresh talent. In the end, he managed to do both, keeping key contributors such as Fredy Montero, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales and Alvaro Fernandez, while adding players such as goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Christian Sivebaek and Marc Burch.
“It was a bit of a challenge, but we were able to juggle the cap in a way that we are able to keep this group out here that you see,” he said, as the team concluded training at the Seattle Seahawks’ indoor training facility. “Again, we have maybe put things off for a year. Again, I think as we win and guy’s salaries go up ... it sort of forces you to adjust your thinking and adjust your roster.
“But we’re obviously happy that we do have the guys back that we have back. Standing here the last couple of days watching, I’m as encouraged as ever that again we’ll have a very, very competitive team.”
However, he cautioned that the club’s flexibility will likely end soon.
“There could be a jaw-dropping addition,” he said. “But there probably would be an equally jaw-dropping subtraction if that were the case.”
More likely, he said, are “little tweaks here and there.”
Supplemental draft pick Jason Barton mostly watched from the sideline Saturday after his long flight from London the day before. Coach Sigi Schmid said “a couple of guys” didn’t report “as fit as I would have liked them to have been.” He did not name names. However, he also said the younger players seemed more settled on their second day. The Sounders are off today. They will return to training Monday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer