SSFC 2013: How much room to move?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Good research. Don't agree with everything here, but deserves to be seen (beware of language). - Jeremiah

As I, like the rest of us, have now had three days to calm down over Sunday's result (I was angry over the entire series, not just Sunday), and in light of that I've come to realize I don't know how much room the Sounders really have to improve for next year, whom they might go out and get, or what areas of the roster provide us flexibility in terms of shedding salary. The end result is this mess of a post (any bad math or conclusions are all my own).

Some notes:

  1. Our roster currently has 29 spots out of 30 occupied, with two players on IR. At most I see us gaining 4 senior slots.
  2. I have no idea how many international spots the Sounders have. They're using 5, each team is guaranteed a minimum of 8 when initially granted. I think we've potentially traded some, gotten some in return, so I'm going to go with the default that we have 8.
  3. None of our players tagged GA or D have their salaries count against the cap, so those amounts have been removed from any Net Cap Savings amounts I've included.
  4. I'd assume that the players salaries are probably going to grow in an amount commensurate with the cap increase. It seems to me to be more of a COLA increase, rather than anything else.
  5. I don't know what the hell this accomplishes, other than it gave me something to do.
  6. Based on my shitty math, it appears that we're $91,471 over the cap. I presume those are your allocation dollars at work, but could just have screwed things up a bit.
  7. These salary numbers were pulled from a post Jeremiah did here at Sounder At Heart, and were very helpful.


This is, obviously, the easiest of the groups to weed through. It's small, which helps my short attention span, and it's pretty damn easy to figure out. Our top two are no-brainers, and our bottom three are semi-interchangeable. I think I prefer Ford out of the three, simply because Tom Dutra seems to prefer him as well, but I'd have zero heartburn with Meredith as our third. He's also a wee bit cheaper. As it's the smallest group, it presents the least potential for gaining cap room, and it may not be a terrible idea to carry a fourth keeper when you consider Hahnemann will be gone at the end of next season.

Senior/DP Slots: 5

Total Salaries: $389,746
Total Cap Salaries: $389,746
Total Team Cap Percentage: 13%

Gspurning ($200,000): Keep, and elect next mayor of Seattle.
Hahnemann ($60,000): Keep
Ford ($44,000): Tossup (Meredith)
Meredith ($33,750): Tossup (Ford)
Weber ($51,996): Drop

Net Senior Roster Change: +2
Net International Change: 0

Net Cap Savings: $85,746


This group is hard for me, but I think we can drop as many three, although I see us probably only losing one. I think Zach Scott is not an MLS-caliber defender, but we need the multiple competition depth. I also fear that Parke wants more from the Sounders than we probably have cap space to give him. Ianni seems to like to break, but he's so damn good I'd strongly consider him over Parke (cheaper, and seems to love Seattle more, for what that's worth). Another option would be to transfer or trade Hurtado, but he's got his green card and wants to stay. If I had to choose between El Presidente and Parke, I might actually choose Parke. The salary difference is only $20K or so, and the quality is strong on both sides.

Senior/DP Slots: 6
International Slots: 1
Non-Senior Slots: 2

Total Salaries: $913,442
Total Cap Salaries: $845,500
Total Cap Percentage: 29%

Parke ($185,325): Keep, if we can re-negotiate his contract to hit the cap less. Failing that, trade him for allocation money and a draft pick.
Gonzalez ($125,000): Keep. He was an absolute beast this year. Best, most consistent performance he's had the entire time he's been with the team. I was incredibly impressed.
Hurtado ($160,000): Keep. He took a step forward from last year's dismal performance.
Ianni ($89,303): Keep. He's too good, dammit. If I had to choose between him and Parke, and he could stay healthy, I'd choose him.
Johansson ($175,000): Let go. Originally, I wanted to keep him. Now that I've looked at the ridiculous amount of money we're paying him, I think we can find a RB just as good on our roster (I'm looking at you, Estrada).
Steres ($33,750): Dear Adrian: Next time you have $34K you're looking to burn, just sign me. I'll be as useful as this Chivas castoff.
Burch ($65,000): If you have to ask, you've not been paying attention. Shitcan, as quickly as possible. I never thought I'd say this, but he makes me miss Tyson Wahl.
Scott ($46,314): It gives me serious bowel trouble to say this, but keep him. AND NEVER LET HIM START ANOTHER FUCKING LEAGUE MATCH EVER. CCL and USOC depth only.
Duran ($33,750): Not sure what to say here. He's apparently a very solid defender, but he's also injury prone. We could probably lose him.

Net Senior Roster Change: +2
Net International Change: +1

Net Cap Savings: $206,250
Net Cap Savings (if we deal Parke): $391,575


This is our deepest group, and the one that Sigi seems to understand the least. I only see one player (Seamon) that could (not should) be dropped, and that would simply be a move to free up a roster spot. Tetteh would be the other potential candidate, and it would be a similar move, but rather to open up an international slot. There is really no meaningful cap space to be gained in this group, in my opinion.

Senior/DP Slots: 8
International Slots: 3
Non-Senior Slots: 3

Total Salaries: $1,449,837.00
Total Cap Salaries: $1,366,325.00
Total Cap Percentage: 39%

Tiffert ($600,000): Keep. I disagree with the criticism Tiffert's play in almost every regard by people on this board, save one: motherfucker needs to shoot more.
Zakuani ($110,000): Keep. Seriously, if anyone disagrees with this they should become a Timbers fan.
Tetteh ($66,000): Drop. He's not helping us, but he's not hurting us other than occupying a roster spot that could be used better. He's still GA so his salary doesn't count against the cap, but we could use the international slot.
Seamon ($33,750): Drop. He's cheap, but he's occupying a roster space we could probably use better.
Evans ($145,475): Keep, of course. But he is never allowed to play CM ever again.
Caskey ($33,756): Keep.
Carrasco ($44,100): Keep. He's Honey Badger, Jr. And his girlfriend is hot (although her voice is *not* sexy).
Alonso ($185,000): Dude. Seriously.
Rose ($33,756): Keep.
Rosales ($200,000): I don't even know why we're discussing this. He's not going anywhere.
Martinez ($48,000): KEEP. KEEP. KEEP. KEEP. He's better than you, so quit yer complaining.

Net Senior Roster Change: 0
Net International Change: +1

Net Cap Savings: $0

(Editorial aside: "Keep" is a funny looking word, and even funnier looking when it's capitalized.)


Senior/DP Slots: 3
International Slots: 1
Non-Senior Slots: 2

Total Salaries: $876,756.00
Total Cap Salaries: $799,900.00
Total Cap Percentage: 19%

Our thinnest group, as everyone knows, and I'm uncertain as to how to make it better. The only one listed here I'd let go is Sammy "The Bull" Ochoa. It isn't that I don't like the guy, I actually do. However, out of this group I think he's the one most likely to be dropped or traded, other than Montero (via transfer).

Montero ($600,000): Keep, although I think he's gone.
Ochoa ($55,000): Drop.
Sodade ($33,756): Keep, for now, although he needs a green card. I want that international slot.
Cato ($44,000): Definitely keep, although he's really a MF and not a forward.
Estrada ($44,000): Keep. I'd still like to see him converted to a right back, though.
Johnson ($100,000): Keep. Definitely.

Net Senior Roster Change: +1
Net International Change: 0

Net Cap Savings: $55,000
Net Cap Savings (if we transfer Fredy): $405,000


Base Salary Cap Savings: $346,996
Base Salary Cap Savings + Parke: $532,321
Base Salary Cap Savings + Fredy: $696,996
Base Salary Cap Savings + Both: $882,321

Base Senior Roster Slot Changes: +4 (with a potential for +6 if both Parke and Fredy go, and the obvious DP slot gain if Fredy does).
Base International Slot Changes: +2

Essentially, I think we can gain at least 4 senior slots and an additional 2 international slots (which could, potentially, give us 5 available). Given the lack of expansion this off season, I think this will be the most stable the Sounders lineup has been in a while. I just don't see a lot of churn happening.

I'm still confused as to how Rosales is a DP based on his salary, so I need someone to explain that to me. However, now that the season's over we should be able to buy that down with allocation money and still keep him well compensated and on the roster.

So, based on the minimal expected roster churn, how do the Sounders effectively reload? I see our big issues being LB/RB, but I'd still like to see how Estrada could handle being a RB full-time. I realize he's been used there before, but he wasn't used there in the way that Johannsen is used. As to LB, I've floated this before but I'll float it again. I'd like to pick up Fucito from PDX and use him there for the same purpose as Estrada. Two low cost (or no cost) moves that, in my mind, carry little risk.

I do believe we need a DP forward as well, I'm just unsure who that target would be. I leave that sort of speculation up to people like Dave and Jeremiah who scour the internets for potential targets. I still have unhealthy and unproductive fantasies about Diego Forlan, so that shows you how realistic I am in that regard. Eidur Gudjohnsen might also be another target to consider. Failing those, I'm without realistic targets.

The reality of the situation is, however, that the Sounders are actually quite good and very deep. The issue is that our depth doesn't lend itself to league play, it lends itself to non-league tournament play. How do we maintain that depth while improving at the needed positions of LB/RB and forward. That's the $2,810,000 question.

FanPosts only represent the opinions of the poster, not of Sounder at Heart.

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