UPDATE: Just learned some things about the CBA that was signed last year as they pertain to guaranteed contracts. It turns out that most standard deals are now guaranteed (and generally become guaranteed toward the end of the previous year), and those players are basically uncuttable. The main exception to that general rule is some rookies and some international players with less than three years in the league. I don't know which rookies and internationals have those kinds of non-guaranteed deals, but it does give a much clearer sense of finality to however the Sounders' roster looks once the season starts.
March 1, as we all now know, was roster compliance day for all MLS teams. In the Seattle Sounders' case, where they have somewhere between 26 and 28 players already under contract (depending on who you ask), the impression is clearly that the roster is pretty much set. But as we found out today in talking to coach Sigi Schmid and GM Adrian Hanauer, that's not entirely true.
Here's what we do know:
- Servando Carrasco and Lamar Neagle have signed
- Mauro Rosales is still on trial, but has not yet signed
- Jonathan Prieto and Leon Cruz are no longer training with the team
- There's a new unidentified player in camp, but he appears to be more training, than on trial
- There are still four goalkeepers and there's no deadline for the Sounders to make a decision on which three will make the team
- Mike Seamon has not been training with the team recently because of something Schmid indicated might be "viral"
- Pat Noonan has an option on his contract that has not needed to be exercised yet and the team has not yet decided if they will pick it up (btw, he looked sharp in training today)
Beyond all that, everything is really speculation and largely undecided. Just because a player is under contract does not mean he's guaranteed of making the final roster. Some of those contracts have options that have not yet needed to be exercised. Others have contracts that simply aren't guaranteed. For the most part, I think we can assume that the final roster will be picked from the 32-34 players still in camp, but I wouldn't be willing to guarantee almost anything at this point.
Below the break is the Club's release of Sigi's statements of the day
Sigi Schmid – Head Coach
(On returning to Seattle for final weeks of preseason training…) "It’s the final phase of preseason so now it’s a matter of us just getting the final phase to our game which is defending in our box, attacking in their box and making sure that we work well together as a unit."
(On Lamar Neagle…) "It’s a great story. It’s a reflection of the effort that he put in. When we talked last year and we said, ‘Look, I don’t see it happening here right now but if you’re serious about this you have got to go some place and play,’ which he did. He took the step. He went away from home. He played, got good minutes, had a good year. It improved his game and he came back here and now he’s with us. It’s just the old adage, coaches aren’t going to like me saying this, but at the end of the day players develop if they can play in competitive game situations that are challenging to them and if you just practice, practice, practice that’s not going to develop you. He was able to get into game situations at a higher level than he might have been playing at and that allowed him to develop and grow."
(On Servando Carrasco…) "Servando has done well. His attitude is great. He is one of those guys who really competes every day. If anything sometimes we have got to harness him back a little bit because he wants to compete, he wants to win. He’s a defensive midfielder. He likes to sit in. He’s not afraid of a tackle. He strikes a good long ball, he opens it up. He scored a good goal against Chicago for the winner there. He’s just been everything we thought he could be based upon what we saw and he’s a good influence at training every day because he comes to compete every day."
(On Cascadia Summit matches…) "It’s games that are important and it’s obviously rivalry games but it’s still part of preseason for us. Obviously we have to make a decision a little bit in terms of the units we are going to play, when we are going to play one unit, when we are going to play the other. That’s something we are still kicking around a little bit but it’s important for us to continue to play well, continue to work well as a team. It gives us a chance to on turf because we have been doing a lot of playing on grass and that’s what we have got to get ready for for the first game against L.A."
(On third goalkeeper…) "Obviously it’s nice to have four around for training purposes and so forth. I know we’ve got to make a decision on that. They’ve made it real tough so we’ve tried to give it as much time as possible. I think if we have to make a decision tomorrow we probably can but we are looking at some alternatives as well because, as I said earlier, we like both kids."
(On Nate Jaqua…) "Jaqua is getting better and is close. I almost wanted to throw him into the 9v9 today and I was told I couldn’t. They still want to keep him as a neutral player but he’s been doing a lot of finishing. He feels good, doesn’t feel any setbacks day-to-day so that’s good."
(On Mike Seamon…) "With Mike we are not quite sure what the ailment is so they’re trying to figure it out and he’s under doctor’s care right now. We are trying to be careful with him until they figure it out but it’s not a pulled muscle or anything like that. It’s more of a complicated medical thing that I wouldn’t be able to say. It could be a viral thing but I’m speculating. The doctors are the ones to ask about that."