Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
The trade that netted Seattle Allocation Money and took a potential contract off the books does not free up enough cap space to improve the team, nor does it improve the roster. GM/minority owner Adrian Hanauer still aims to do both of those things in busy offseason.
When the Seattle Sounders traded Jeff Parke to the Philadelphia Union for Allocation Money and a draft pick it freed up some cap space, but not enough. While the primary reason for the trade was due to Parke's request to be closer to his family, Seattle did manage to use it and gain some advantage in this upcoming Year of the Reload (tm).
Adrian Hanauer explained to Sounder at Heart that the team is satisfied with the new three centerback rotation of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni and Zach Scott, but if a chance at inserting a starter comes up they may take it.
"Andrew Duran has to get back from his injury and yes he would effectively be a rookie next year. We feel good about Jhon Kennedy, Patrick and Zach Scott," Hanauer said in an interview Friday. "But that's not to say that we won't try to find another centerback. Whether that's cover or we decide to go out -- if the offseason transpires in a way that allows us the cap space -- to go after what I would term another starter, we'll see as the offseason progresses."
How that offseason progresses will be complicated. It will not be a flurry of moves, like Seattle last summer when the Fernandez/Tiffert "swap" happened, nor in the same style as Real Salt Lake's changes, which were also necessitated by the salary limitations in Major League Soccer.
"I feel for Garth [Lagerway, RSL GM,] and what they're going through there. Garth and I are pretty close friends and I would say that they are definitely some similarities," Hanauer said. "We may go about it [cap compliance] in different ways, but ultimately we both have, they had, we have, similar cap constraints."
Those constraints will still mean losing a player or players in order to get better.
"For sure we are still over the cap and we still have things that we want to do to get better," Hanauer explained. "It's safe to say that by sending Jeff to Philadelphia as our only offseason move we haven't made our team better."
That's clearly the goal. The Seattle Sounders have not reached their goals yet. They have been good, but they have not hit that promised land of the MLS Cup. To do that they are seeking to add starting quality players as well as cover at various positions. That will require changes to the team you knew in 2012. When a player moves out they will not be immediately replaced, as it is a long offseason and the Winter Transfer Window closes in mid-April.
"I think that this is sort of the beginning of, as you termed, a lot of moving parts going into action. It will be a process. It's not going to happen with an announcement per day. It's not going to happen in any logical, nice tidy order. It's a complicated business where certain opportunities present themselves and we have to be flexible and able to take advantage of opportunities and make the best decisions for the club long term, not make quick decisions because we want to make a few changes before the January transfer window opens."
Seattle is about a month and a half from training camp opening and three months from the regular season beginning, but even then they may not be done setting the roster up for their next run at the MLS Cup. It will be an offseason of patience punctuated by moves big, small and in-between.