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Sounders, Blaise Nkufo Sever Ties, Effective Immediately

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Outside of his three-goal game against the Columbus Crew last year, Blaise Nkufo never quite lived up to the expectations of many Seattle Sounders fans. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Outside of his three-goal game against the Columbus Crew last year, Blaise Nkufo never quite lived up to the expectations of many Seattle Sounders fans. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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Blaise Nkufo and the Seattle Sounders have severed ties, effective immediately. A team release has confirmed the rumors that have been swirling around for several hours.

"This move improves our flexibility with regard to the salary cap," Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said in the release.

Unlike the situation with Freddie Ljungberg last year, this will not be a situation where the player is left in a virtual purgatory. By all appearances, the Sounders now have an open roster spot, cap space and DP slot. The release does say that Nkufo's status is "being negotiated by Sounders FC, the players representative and Major League Soccer," but it's not entirely clear what that means.

Nkufo's stint with the Sounders was particularly short, as he appeared in just 13 league games, one U.S. Open Cup match and two CONCACAF Champions League matches. During that time, he scored five goals, including the first hat trick in the team's MLS history.

The cause of the separation is still not known, but there have been rumors circulating for much of the off-season that Nkufo was unhappy. Until now, those seemed nothing more than idle speculation.

O'Brian White seems to be the obvious choice to fill Nkufo's role. He has been impressive in preseason and appears to be fully fit for the first time since his Hermann Trophy winning year in 2007.