Sounders have lost nine players so far this offseason and added just two. But general manager Adrian Hanauer says the team will be adding to the roster soon.
Nine offseason losses, so far.
Some were expected, others weren’t, but departures won’t be an issue for long, according to Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer.
Seattle currently has 25 players on the roster with several negotiations ongoing; scouting combines coming up in Las Vegas (college) and Trinidad (international); and the MLS SuperDraft and Supplemental Draft in January.
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“We’re going to be very quickly faced with the opposite problem,” Hanauer said in reference to the turnover, “which is that we’d like to keep 34 players and we’re not going to be able to.”
The league’s roster limit is 30 players; Hanauer indicated the team’s preference would be to carry 29.
One priority remaining is finding a new right back after three-year starter James Riley was lost in the expansion draft. In a business meeting with season-ticket holders Tuesday night, Hanauer said the team is in discussions on multiple fronts for a replacement. Heiner Mora, a 27-year-old Costa Rican, is one target.
Seattle also is close to adding a forward and/or midfielder, Hanauer said.
The two lone additions of the offseason are Austrian goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, who’s expected to start in place of retired legend Kasey Keller, and defender Marc Burch, who was acquired in the re-entry process.
Regarding the departures, Hanauer said the team “certainly anticipated a great deal of it.” Goalkeeper Terry Boss’ retirement due to his concussion history was essentially the only unexpected loss, he said.
“We have a plan, believe it or not,” Hanauer told season-ticket holders Tuesday, “and we’re going to be OK.”
Alonso is team MVP
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was voted team MVP for the second year in a row, the Sounders announced Wednesday. An MLS All-Star for the first time in 2011, the 26-year-old Cuban has reportedly drawn interest from English Premier League teams and set career highs last season in games (33), goals (three), assists (three) and shots (54).
Forward Fredy Montero, whose 18 goals in all competitions was the most in MLS, earned the team’s Golden Boot award as its leading scorer. Jeff Parke was voted Defender of the Year and Riley was named Humanitarian of the Year for the second straight season.
• In Tuesday’s business meeting, majority owner Joe Roth said Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson broke a “gentlemen’s agreement” during a summer friendly, which the Sounders embarrassingly lost 7-0 in front of 67,052 at CenturyLink Field. Calling him “Sir Alex Whatever-His-Name-Is,” Roth said the agreement was to play starters in the first half and reserves in the second half. After halftime, Man U instead substituted in superstar forward Wayne Rooney, who scored three of the visitors’ six goals in the second half.
• The Sounders will have to replace more than just players this offseason. Regarding a search for a new play-by-play man after Arlo White left to lead NBC Sports’ soccer coverage, Hanauer said: “I’d compare him in the same way that we talked about Kasey Keller; you’re not going to replace Arlo White. Clearly NBC saw that’s he’s one of a kind. But we’re going to find someone else great.”
• Hanauer said he’s had good conversations with Keller regarding the retired goalkeeper’s future with the team, saying they’re “optimistic that we’ll come together with a role that we can announce in the not-too-distant future.”
• Gary Wright, senior VP of business operations, said in Tuesday’s business meeting that studies have shown that installing grass at CenturyLink Field is “not feasible.” The team prefers grass, however, and will continue to explore options while replacing the FieldTurf as often as needed to maintain a quality playing surface. A new turf is scheduled to be installed in February for the first time since 2008.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers