>Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer discussed the franchise's first season in an exclusive online chat Thursday afternoon. Here are some highlights.

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Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer discussed the franchise’s first season in an exclusive online chat Thursday afternoon. Here are some highlights.

Question: Since James Riley was a regular starter on the team this season, why was he made available in the expansion draft?

Adrian Hanauer: Actually a very difficult decision but one that was made jointly by the coaching staff, myself and Chris Henderson. We love James but knew that we were going to lose someone of quality.

Q: I’ve heard the Sounders will be facing competition in Spain this preseason, true? And if so, where and what teams?

Hanauer: True. Headed to Spain in mid-February to play in the La Manga tournament on the East Coast of Spain. Our competition will likely be from Scandinavia and other Northern European countries. But we do not have all of the specific opponents at this time.

Q: How many season-ticket holders renewed, and how many season tickets have been sold for next year?

Hanauer: We are currently at about 95 percent renewal rate. Now we are beginning to contact the 8,500-ticket waiting list. Our goal is 30,000 season tickets.

Q: Has the team thought about opening the Hawks Nest area for increased seating at Qwest Field?

Hanauer: First stop is the loge seating in the upper deck … same configuration as the Houston playoff game (approximately 35,500). I agree that the Hawks Nest is the logical next step.

Q: Whose presence is bigger: Chip Hanauer’s in Seattle hydros or Adrian Hanauer in Seattle soccer?

Hanauer: Since everywhere I go, people ask me whether I am Chip’s brother, I can only assume that his presence is bigger. Hopefully, occasionally he is asked the same question. He’s got Gold Cups but we have an Open Cup!

Q: How much has Drew Carey’s presence helped Seattle in the MLS in their inaugural year?

Hanauer: Drew definitely has a cheerful personality. What people often don’t realize about Drew, however, is how smart and insightful he is. He has been very valuable to ownership and management as he is the consummate evangelist for our rabid fan base. Every idea or decision he brings to the table has the fans’ interest at its core.

Q: Can you win the supporters a cup that we can actually drink out of next year?

Hanauer: The Open Cup is in my office. You can come borrow it to drink out of any time you want. It’s pretty heavy, though.

Q: What was your favorite Sounders moment off the pitch?

Hanauer: The moment just after the singing of the national anthem at every home game. I love the increase in volume, tension, the chants from the ECS, the flags … that moment of anticipation before the kickoff.

Q: I want a third shale gray kit for Champions League! Lets make it happen!

Hanauer: I can’t promise shale gray but there might be a little surprise in the jersey category coming this summer.

Q: Has the success of the Sounders and the fantastic atmosphere of the home pitch created an increase in players interested in coming here to play?

Hanauer: Without a doubt. Word has gotten out and there are very few players around the world who do not know a bit about the Sounders FC story.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you face as GM?

Hanauer: Our biggest challenge as an organization is to continue to listen to and be beholden to our fans. 2009 was a success beyond any of our dreams, but we can’t get complacent. So my biggest challenge personally is to continue to raise the bar on my goals and expectations for all of the people who work around me. It all comes back to the fans, and we strive to exceed your expectations.