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Sounders prospect graduates from Generation adidas

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New designation means the 22-year-old won't be exempt from the Expansion Draft and will have his salary count against the budget in 2015.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Eriq Zavaleta's loan to Chivas USA is over and he's effectively a Seattle Sounders player again. That status may not last too much longer, though. A few days ago, MLS announced that Zavaleta was one of four players to "graduate" from Generation adidas this year. What that means for the Sounders is Zavaleta won't be exempt from the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft, as well as having his full salary number count against his new team's budget in 2015. Zavaleta made more than $100,000 in 2014, according to MLS Players' Union data.

Although the Sounders would probably be happy to have the 22-year-old back on the roster for 2015, it's highly unlikely they'd use one of their 11 protected spots on a player who has yet to establish himself as either a forward (his position in college) or center back (where he played for Chivas USA), as well as eating up a substantial portion of their salary cap.

While the Sounders might not be willing to protect him, he could be an interesting piece for either New York City FC or Orlando City to consider. In his second MLS season, Zavaleta established himself as a capable, if predictably inconsistent, center back option. He was also a standout forward at Indiana, possessing both size and skill that project well to MLS.

If he does return to the Sounders, it would most likely be as a center back. The Sounders had been using him there prior to loaning him to Chivas USA and he showed solid improvement when given an extended run at one position.