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Blaise Nkufo, Sounders Part Ways: At Least It Ended Quickly

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O'Brian White appears to be the the Seattle Sounders' starting target forward, at least for the foreseeable future now that Blaise Nkufo is out of the picture. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
O'Brian White appears to be the the Seattle Sounders' starting target forward, at least for the foreseeable future now that Blaise Nkufo is out of the picture. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Rather than toiling in some kind of purgatory, potentially training separately from the team while trying to find a more suitable place to play, Blaise Nkufo is simply gone. In start contrast to the Freddie Ljungber situation of a year ago, this one was over before most of us even knew it had begun.

We can all be mad that it happened at all. We can be disappointed with the timing. But if we accept that this was going to happen sooner or later, this is definitely the preferred method.

Kasey Keller, who was also one of the first players to express his disappointment with Ljungberg, had a similar reaction to Nkufo's sudden departure. But he too seemed to appreciate the fact that the situation is, at least, over.

"He left us a little high and dry, which is a little frustrating," Keller said after Tuesday's First Kick loss to the LA Galaxy. "But we have a good squad. It's not about people who aren't here or people who don't want to be here. It's about the team that is here and that stepped on the field today."

What happened, exactly, is probably unlikely to ever be known. Unlike Ljungberg, who had at least formed some relationships with fans and local members of the media and was thus inclined to keep talking after he left, few people in Seattle outside of Steve Zakuani seem to have made any kind of meaningful connection with Nkufo. By most accounts, he was an upstanding citizen, a fine teammate and a solid human being, but he never seemed particularly inclined to engender good will with media or fans. His likeness may have been all over the team's marketing efforts, but his thick French accent made public appearances more difficult. There's no question he had fans here, but it wasn't because of anything he was doing aside from playing a solid target forward and scoring the occasional goal.

What this does do, at least in the short term, is live a somewhat sizable hole in the Sounders' roster. O'Brian White seems like a capable back-up, someone you're happy to turn to in a pinch, but he's so far unproven as a starting caliber forward. I'd be perfectly happy to turn it over to Nate Jaqua, but he has yet to participate fully in practice and still might be a few more weeks away from being match fit.

This does open up the possibility of bringing in another DP, but that would probably have to be someone who's currently out of contract, someone like recently signed Vancouver Whitecaps DP Eric Hassli. Realistically, it's unlikely the Sounders get any big-name replacement, at least until the end of the European season.

If the Sounder do,go the DP route, it's hard to see them going after a big-name European, anyway. More likely, it will be someone in the mol Fredy Montero, a younger player with less track record and more upside. Maybe it's someone whose DP status is at least partially tied to a transfer fee, like Alvaro Fernandez.

Unfortunately, there are a lot more questions that we have answers for right now. Hopefully, that will change in the coming days.