The MLS season is a long one, running a full 9 months from early March to early December. So before the ink was even dry on the papers forever documenting the 2016 Sounders MLS Cup win, the wheels of progress were underway to form the 2017 version. Many of the players who played a decent sized role in the title run found themselves trading their Rave Green uniforms for flights back to their home countries. Meanwhile, a new set of Sounders filled out change of address forms, and made plans to move to Seattle.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the turnstyle over the last 3 months. (For a full review, read this article from SounderAtHeart.)
The MLS has some pretty onerous salary cap rules. Add in 2 new expansion teams this year in Minnesota and Atlanta, and it makes it hard to keep a team together. Here are the 18 names you won’t see wearing a Sounders uniform this year:
- Nelson Valdez (released because he was too expensive and signed with a team in Paraguay)
- Tyrone Mears (released and signed by Atlanta)
- Dylan Remick (released and redrafted by Houston)
- Erik Friberg (released and signed by a team in Sweden)
- Andreas Ivanschitz (released and signed by a team in the Czech league)
- Zack Scott (retired)
- Herculez Gomez (retired)
- Some guys you may or may not recognize were also released and signed with minor league teams (or retired): Darwin Jones, Charlie Lyon, Jimmy Ockford, Victor Mansaray (loaned out) Michael Farfan (retired), Nathan Sturgis (still unsigned), Oalex Anderson (still unsigned)
New Sounders are often guys we’ve never heard of. So, for these 8 new players, I’m sharing the 0-100 ratings the video game FIFA 2017 gives them.
- Clint Dempsey, F, (Back from Disabled List): 80
- Gustav Svensson Mid, / Def (from Sweden and Chinese League): 72
- Will Bruin, F, (from Houston): 69
- Harry Shipp, Mid, (from Montreal): 68
- Bryan Meredith, GK, (from San Jose): 61
- Nouhou Tolo, Def, (Sounders 2): NR
- Henry Wingo, Mid, / Def (Homegrown): NR
- Seyi Adekoya, F, (Homegrown): NR
Check and make sure your favorite players are still here. Just 14 remain from the team that won in Toronto, but 9 of them started that night.
- Tony Alfaro, Def: 62
- Osvaldo Alonso, Mid: 79
- Brad Evans, Def / Mid: 70
- Alvaro Fernandez, Mid: 70
- Oniel Fisher, Def: 61
- Stefan Frei, GK: 73
- Joevin Jones, Def: 66
- Aaron Kovar, Mid: 62
- Nicolas Lodeiro, Mid: 78
- Chad Marshall, Def: 74
- Tyler Millar, GK: 58
- Jordan Morris, For / Mid: 68
- Cristian Roldan, Mid: 65
- Roman Torres, Def: 72
Now I’m no math genius, but if you lose 18 players and add 8, you should still have some roster space available. In fact, an MLS team can carry 28 players on their roster at one time, so since the Sounders only have 22 on the current sheet, logic dictates you’ll see 4-6 more players either get signed from Sounders 2, or come in a late transfer window signing. The primary MLS transfer window runs from Feb 18 – May 11. Then, the secondary one opens from July 10 – August 9.
The Sounders still do have one ‘Designated Player” spot available, meaning they can essentially sign a player for any amount of money they want and not have it hit the salary cap. (Dempsey and Lodeiro are the other two. Valdez was the 3rd, so they cut him to get that Designated Player spot back.)
So there you go; that’s your 2017 Sounders squad. See you at Century Link.