June 7, 2018

By Stephanie Steiner

Council’s role in this meeting is to determine whether or not we have confidence in the plan in place: Does it make sense? Is the General Manager making good choices with the information at hand at the time? Hindsight makes us all brilliant, but that isn’t reality.

While Council President Martin Buckley took the role of Brain(iac), my role in this meeting was more in line with representing the emotions of the fan base: our disappointment, unmet expectations, and what should be done to reach the Alliance Members frustrated by our current situation. Also: when you see the data presentations that Martin brings to the meetings – I’m not going to compete with that. I’d rather lead a naked army across a cracking icy lake.  He excels at data and you can read his post here.

We walked through injuries (compared to years past and data from other teams), injury timing, and recovery data.  Essentially, and if you’ve been in these conversations with any of us or Adrian or Garth before you know this one already:  your best players need to be on the pitch making contributions to the game. Everything boils down to that. Super-short off seasons, especially two years in a row, take their toll on players. One month off and coming right back to training for CONCACAF is brutal: players are not machines. Toronto FC is in a similar situation. There are some who might say ‘well you should have known that and rotated out your players,’ but really?  This is me talking now, not them: how much tolerance would we have for a Club that whacks 15 players annually to always have players at 23-26 years of age? We love loving our lads and it takes time to build relationships. Players need time to mature and develop skill sets: and they learn them from established veterans. Locker room dynamic needs to be respected. Bonding among our men is important for all of them to trust each other and be a real team not just a product on the field. So even though I don’t know as much as most of you, I don’t care for this idea. Also: our young lads get hurt too.

We talked at considerable length about our goal scoring average, which led us into a conversation about player acquisitions:  There is a plan with multiple layers. When the primary target’s contract is inked, they will announce (pending all of the normal stuff) because they love us and they want us to be happy. The primary target’s identity was not revealed; however, they did say that the current rumor fits the type of player, position, and style that they’d seek. Everything else after that is dependent on that outcome – if that player is a yes: then it’s a different set of players to pursue based on that player coming aboard.  If that contract should happen to not go through, then obviously that position still needs to be filled and then other complimentary positions also need to be filled.  Garth apologized for texting during the meeting as “we’re working a deal right now.”  (Erp, no problemo).

Regarding acquisitions during off-season:  it was definitely an objective to bring someone in during January.  Negotiations were completed and things fell apart at the very end because: reasons. Council was informed of the reasons at our first update with Garth (March 2018), but we agreed to keep that confidence (GAH! *[email protected]@!!*).  This is where the Club drives me nutty. Yes, I know that the Club does not want to ever have the reputation for throwing anyone under the bus. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, because at that time we had Clint, Jordan, Nico, and Will all firepower up front – we didn’t yet know we’d need so much help up top: that’s not the position this person would have filled.  Turns out , it’s a huge impact when your firepower isn’t on the pitch together (injuries, suspensions, call-ups, etc.).  If that signing had gone through, money would have been tied up – now, it’s available to pursue what is the remedies for what ails us now.

The lack of storytelling this season is frustrating:  Garth and Adrian haven’t told us all what’s up.  Council has gotten a little more than the rest of Sounderland – or maybe we got some of it earlier than you all. Their philosophy has been that since they just can’t tell everyone enough, it’s better to be quiet.  We disagree with that: don’t break the rules, but we want them to talk about what they can talk about. Also please do it in multiple formats so that the information gets into the community. Garth does a radio show every week.  If you’ve listened, you know that teams don’t give up their good players when they’re still in their season. During that time, there are plenty of lousy players available, but not good ones (hence: no replacement for JMo).  Sounders: Garth said it on the radio and to the Times. <heavy sigh> Let’s find a way to take that snippet and put out into Sounders’ own social media.  As a matter of fact, why aren’t all of Garth’s KJR radio interviews broken out into Q&A and then put into links afterward and out into Sounders’ own social media?  This is a super important year with some presently crap circumstances:  don’t talk less, talk more. The Sounders have staff and have the ability to hire out: get more stories into multiple formats and put them out into the ether.

I think we might have had an impact here – you deserve more information about what’s going on in a lot of areas:  the Academy players are doing amazingly well – let’s learn more about that and celebrate the accomplishments.  We have a new High Performance Director, Damien Roden – really, that’s his title.  I want to learn about his story and how I can get a cool title like that. Hendy is great on Twitter with his pictures, and a “Where in the World is Hendy” could have been a fun social campaign and bright spot that brought us closer.  Of all years, this has year felt like they are distant from us – like they’ve created this monk-like commitment to modesty because of the GM Vote.  The impact is that we’re left feeling shut out of things that would have made a big difference, especially in this losing season but any season really.  Some of this might get though, but by the time any of the impact can reach you, so will the trade window: so maybe by August we won’t even notice because we’ll be scoring so many goals.

I’ll leave you with this, one more modified Awkward Yeti cartoon. We have many reasons to envision a bright future*:

*pending results of physical examinations and Visa approval, naturally.  Bwahahahaha.