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Sounders owner Hanauer points finger at himself after U.S. Open Cup fiasco


Photo by Jennifer Buchanan/USA TODAY Sports


After three ejections, a ripped referee’s notebook, harsh words, fan unrest, and a police escort, Seattle Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer has taken the chance to address all of the issues with Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup loss.

Hanauer said Thursday that the loss to the Portland Timbers wasn’t the Sounders’ “proudest moment”, while stating that the club may hand down some internal punishments for the events of Tuesday night’s game.

The match-up saw three players sent off, including Clint Dempsey, who may face additional sanctions after ripping up the referee’s notebook. In addition, referees had to be escorted from the Starfire Stadium field as fans hurled plastic bottles at both visiting players and officials.

“Now, we need to regroup,” Hanauer said. “We’ve had lots of internal conversations. We will do whatever we need to collect information on fan misconduct and dole out appropriate punishments if those are necessary. We’ll deal with all of the rest internally.

“But I thought it was important to acknowledge that it wasn’t our proudest moment as the Sounders organization and we’re going to do better. We know that people are looking to the Sounders as the bellwether franchise in North America and we always need to be at the top of our game.”

Hanauer also said that the passion from Seattle’s fans and players may have gone overboard, and was not used appropriately. Still, the owner pointed the finger at himself for what transpired at Starfire Stadium.

“It all starts with me,” said Hanauer. “I run this organization and, while leading it, maybe I need to look in the mirror and see if there’s something that I need to do to maybe think about things different and get the best out of the people in the organization.

“The Open Cup is a tournament we take very seriously. No one can argue that the Sounders have possibly put the Open Cup back on the map for U.S. Soccer. So the passion comes out. We wanted to win that game Tuesday night. We wanted (S2) to win in Salt Lake City. I think that the passion may have been misappropriated – from players, coaches, fans and staff.

What do you think of Hanauer’s comments? What punishments are you expecting for the Sounders?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What a bunch of meaningless drivel, I get trying to take the heat off the organization but Clint Dempsey is a grown man and an experienced professional soccer player. He needs to man up and admit he lost his cool and that is nothing to do with the ownership. BTW no one outside Seattle thinks that U.S. open cup is ‘on the map’ it’s not. And if it is why are you playing a game against your supposed heated rivals on your practice pitch?

    Like I said meaningless drivel, let’s give Clint the appropriate punishment and move on for goodness sakes.

    • They put the tournament so “on the map” that they can’t even financially justify the expense of using their usual (almost said “their own”) stadium for it.

  2. Good of him to accept responsibility, but I could do without the bravado about being the bellwether franchise for North America and taking credit for putting the USOC on the map. Sounders FC loves to take credit for inventing stuff, eh?

  3. If he wants to reevaluate something with the fans, maybe start with getting rid of the double Nazi salute that they are copying from Europe. I watch that and all I see is Nazi on overdrive. Come up with something of your own, something less militant.

    • Wow, I hadn’t been aware of this. Anything closely reminiscent of the Nazis is totally despicable. Like Indiana Jones said, I hate Nazis.

    • You have absolutely no clue… There is nothing remotely Nazi about raising both arms and then clapping in unison.. it is a football salute to their team… Stop fishing for trouble.

      • I’m pretty sure they clapped back then too. Also, they got together in big crowds an all faced in the same directly, so i think Wood Chip Zip has hit the nail on the head.

    • The Pacific Northwest is full of white people, but they’re almost unanimously liberal. I guarantee Seattle Sounder fans are not knowingly making any sort of Nazi solute.

  4. Even in non-apology apologizing for the actions of Sounders players and fans Tuesday night, their principal owner can’t restrain himself from pontificating on just how special the Sounders are.

    “The Open Cup is a tournament we take very seriously. No one can argue that the Sounders have possibly put the Open Cup back on the map for U.S. Soccer. So the passion comes out.”

    “We know that people are looking to the Sounders as the bellwether franchise in North America and we always need to be at the top of our game.”

    What. A. Douche.

    • Or he could have simply said nothing like most owners would do in this situation. I give him credit for publicly stating his concerns. I’ve never heard an owner publicly suggest that on the field or in the stands problems might be traced back to him. He sounded respectful and contrite, while acknowledging that the conduct conflicted with how he view the goals of the organization. I think that sets a good example.

      • I can think of other examples over these past 20 seasons where owners have stepped forward and said, as Hanauer did, “we need to do better.” However, in general they were able to do so without adding on an extra heapin’ helpin’ of ‘compared to the rest of the league, we’re a special, super-important little snowflake.’ But to do otherwise would deviate from a script in Seattle with which everyone else in the league is very, very, very familiar.

      • I guess I was hoping for some specifics as to how he was responsible for the players’ and fans’ actions…other than having created this super-awesome team.

    • every league needs a villain (Chelsea, Yankees, Patriots, Juve, Real, whatever team Lebron is on, lol, etc)

    • I’m a long time Galaxy fan and I don’t hate either. The Sounders haven’t been known for playing dirty and I didn’t see this game, so I don’t know if they played dirty in the game. I can’t think of any team deserving of hate in MLS, although I guess Portland and Seattle pretty much despise one another. As a San Diego Chargers fan, I DO hate the Raiders and their fans. Now that’s a team that historically is deserving of hate as are their fans.

    • I’m also a Galaxy fan, and until this year I’ve looked at Seattle as more of a speed bump than a road block. Not a team I’ve had strong feelings about one way or another, although I tend to favor Portland in the SEA-POR rivalry. All that said, Seattle has become one of the best teams in the league, and Dempsey is kind of a d*ck. Those two facts combined make me hate Seattle a little bit.

    • Perhaps. After reading the source article thought, it’s hard to say. There’s lots of “maybe” statements.

      When looking to a leader, I don’t want ambiguity, I want certainty and accountability. “I will do this… This will happen…. People will…”

      Re-read his statements taking out the “maybe” statements. Reads entirely different IMO.

      • Yep. It’s a mediocre mea culpa. ‘Please don’t suspend our franchise player or punish us for having abusive fans.’

    • I was going to criticize his comments for being wishy-washy, but then I remembered I root for the Fire and if something like that happened with our team, our owner would probably publish an editorial on the team’s Website and criticize his team’s fans.

      • Haha +1
        Also you’d need to have high expectations in the first place to be upset about a loss like this, which we/Hauptman don’t have.

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