The Seattle Sounders have yet to play a single MLS match, and yet, they are starting to talk about playing in CONCACAF competitions.
Today, Kansas City. Tomorrow, Man United?
Sure, it’s early. But just think: Tuesday’s match between the USL Sounders and the Wizards could have a lot to say about whether international competition awaits Seattle Sounders FC in the autumn of 2009.
Beginning this year, U.S. Soccer has declared that the winner of the U.S. Open Cup will earn an automatic berth in the following year’s CONCACAF Champions League. So, if Seattle should win its quarterfinal game next week at Qwest Field, Adrian Hanauer will be asking federation officials, ‘What if Seattle goes all the way?’
“We’ve started that conversation with U.S. Soccer, and if we’re lucky enough to get past Kansas City,” says Hanauer, “there will be another one next week, and I’d say the urgency level would be fairly extreme.”
The wrinkle involves the Sounders, present and future. The USL club is scheduled to close shop following this season, giving way to the Sounders FC debut in Major League Soccer next spring. If the Sounders lift the cup, to whom will go the spoils?
Hanauer will present a case that binds the two clubs together; one that makes Champions League berth transferrable. He is majority owner of the USL team. He is also general manager and among the ownership group of the MLS club.
Look guys, I like the enthusiasm, but Seattle still has at least two but likely three matches it has win over MLS opposition before it can even begin to think about the Champions Cup. That said, it would be kind of cool if they did end up making it. But let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here.