The first instances of offseason turnover hit abruptly for Sounders FC.
The team announced Monday that it has declined to exercise the contract option of goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. Two more fan favorites might also have played their last games in Seattle as midfielders Steve Zakuani and Mauro Rosales were among the 68 players made available in the upcoming MLS Re-Entry Draft (Zakuani’s contract has expired and the Sounders declined an option on Rosales).
The re-entry draft players, which for the Sounders also include defender Marc Burch, goalkeeper Josh Ford and midfielder Blair Gavin — whose options were declined — can be re-signed by 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The first stage of the draft is Thursday and typically doesn’t see much action as other teams must take on players’ existing option prices. The second stage is Dec. 18 and often more eventful since teams can negotiate new deals with draftees.
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Gspurning, 32, was an MLS Goalkeeper of the Year finalist in 2012 but struggled down the stretch this season, which led to a two-game benching. He was one of the highest paid goalkeepers in the league, making $285,000.
Backup goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann had indicated on Twitter that he will return in 2014, but the team will likely make multiple additions at the position.
Zakuani was one of six remaining “original” Sounders from the start of the 2009 season, drafted No. 1 overall out of Akron. Rosales, the 2011 MLS Newcomer of the Year, is the team’s co-leader in career assists with 34.
Overall, the team opened up more than $900,000 in salary-cap space with the moves, some of which will cover a new deal for midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, who has become a designated player.
• Sounders FC has ended its television partnership with local NBC affiliate KING-5/KONG 6 and will have its games next season aired by the Fox affiliate, Q13, and JoeTV (Ch. 10).
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.