Seattle Sounders fans are going to get hammered with trialists and rumors over the next month. The lead up to this Summer's window is going to be fast, furious and ideally fortunate. Adrian Hanauer has some cap room to play with, a DP slot available, and MLS has slightly higher respect than it did four years ago. Unlike other sports, the MLS team here in the Emerald City will be connected with some of the top names in the sport. Already we have seen three trialists brought in, each in different stages of their career.
Cillian Sheridan is looking for playing time and the opportunity to grab more attention from his national team, while his contract holders in CSKA Sophia need to cut some payroll. Myron Samuel has basically done everything he can in the semi-pro Caribbean realm and at the age of 18 looks likely to make the next step in his career climbing the ladder. Sammy Ochoa once was able to turn away from MLS for the more lucrative lands of Mexico, but is now free and can reconnect with his former Youth National Team Coach.
Sigi addressed the changing nature of trialists at practice today;
Obviously we continue to look at players and so forth. Cillian [Sheridan] was an option for us as a big forward, had been brought to our attention so we figured it would be a good chance to look at him. He has a good pedigree, played for some good teams. Sammy Ochoa is a player that obviously I have known for a while having seen him play youth soccer in southern California, I had him on my U-20 team, when he became free and went out of contract we decided to give him a look.
Samuel and Ochoa were in camp still on Tuesday. But the trialists are not likely to be the game changers. They are the guys that need a longer look. The game changers are going to be those who are certainly talented, but will cost money. They don't need a trial. They just need space on the roster, cap room and a contract.
That's where things get tricky for the current roster, as only three players meet the conditions of over 24, three years in the league, largish contract and not absolutely necessary in the Starting XI.
Joshua Mayers at the Seattle Times laid out the situation of Pat Nooan quite well. His 96k salary is high for what we've seen from him as a strong leader on the Reserve side who can manage the game from the midfield or forward. The other two players who could just be cut to open up significant cap and roster space are Erik Friberg and Leo Gonzalez.
Cutting either would aid the team in adding significant talent as each makes 110k. But both are internationals who were recruited directly to the Sounders. A straight cut would likely effect the future ability to attract talent on a long term basis. That leaves trades to open room for more than just a DP and a trialist or two.
Chris Henderson says that other teams are interested in Seattle's Centerbacks, but as I remember last year being hollow in the defensive spine is a significant problem. So for Seattle to create cap and roster room past just adding a DP level talent and one other regular the choices are to cut starting caliber players, or trade from depth. Hanauer will make the play for one, at most two, of "the eight" and may add a trialist or two, but it is doubtful that the trialists are the difference makers in League play.