Fresh off being named the Seattle Sounders' MVP by his teammates, Osvaldo Alonso now has a contract that more accurately reflects his status on the team. The 28-year-old has re-signed a longterm contract that makes him a Designated Player, giving the Sounders the maximum three in those spots. Mauro Rosales' status remains undecided, but this is a very strong indication that he'll only be back if he accepts a pay cut.
"Ozzie is the ultimate competitor who has given everything to Sounders FC," said Sounders FC Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer said in a team release. "His passion for the game of soccer and his drive to be the best are validated by being named team MVP four-consecutive seasons by his teammates. Ozzie is a key building block for our club and we are happy to sign him to a long-term contract extension."
While there will surely be some debate as to whether or not the Sounders absolutely had to make this move, there's little doubt that he's deserving. Since becoming one of the Sounders' first signings upon moving to MLS, he has established himself as arguably the top defensive midfielder in the league and would likely be in line for a United States national team call-up if not for Cuba refusing to release him.
This is at least the third time the Sounders have given Alonso a raise.
"This contract is different," Alonso said. "I have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders now. I have to keep going and play my game and play the best for the team. Signing this contract is going to be a good challenge for me."
During his five seasons with the Sounders, he has been one of the team's most reliable players, holding the franchise record for games (139), starts (135) and minutes played (11,839). He's also made three all-star teams.
"Alonso is the model of consistency for us in central midfield," Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. "His on-field leadership and tenacious play make him one of the top holding midfielders in the league."
Alonso's status as a Designated Player is also another sign that the Sounders may be moving on from Eddie Johnson, who was vocal in his desire for a raise.