Sounders FC majority owner Joe Roth talked on Tuesday about his expectations for the 2011 season.
Sounders FC majority owner Joe Roth watched MLS First Kick from Qwest Field for the third straight season on Tuesday night in a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy. Before the match, he talked about his expectations for the 2011 season.
Q: How do you feel going into the third season in what Sigi Schmid has essentially called a make-or-break season?
A: I think we started the second season overconfident because we made the playoffs in the first season and it showed. We had a horrible first half of the second season. I think we’re in much better shape now. We’ve got new faces, we’ve got a lot of depth. And I think after the first month or so we’re going to see what this team has.
Q: Over the last two years, what have you learned about the soccer business?
A: It’s a cruel game. The business, you can manage. The game itself is a cruel game. In a sport where so few goals are scored, it’s a matter of inches or hitting a post or a referee not seeing a call or making a phantom call. It’s a frustrating game.
Q: You’ve played and coached for years though. Is it different because the stakes are higher?
A: It’s amplified because I can’t do anything about it. It’s one thing if I’m a player or if I’m a coach where there’s a feeling that I can do something about it. As an owner all I can do is transmit good or evil thoughts, depending on what’s going on.
Q: This is a big year for MLS, adding Portland and Vancouver. What does that mean for Seattle?
A: I think Seattle is the place to be for American soccer and you’re going to see that even more with Portland and Vancouver. I think you’re going to see European style rivalries and animosity between these three cities. I think it’s good for the city.
Q: Have you seen that kind of animosity in sports before?
A: I guess we have the Yankees and Red Sox, but this just feels like an open sore. I hope everyone is in good spirits and behaves themselves, but there certainly seems to be a lot of juice between these two cities.
Q: Is that the biggest challenge of this year – navigating the rivalries?
A: There are a lot of challenges and this level of hostility will be new to MLS and we’ll have to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.