A day after hinting that a move could be in the offing, the Seattle Sounders announced that midfielder Alex Caskey had been traded to D.C. United in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2016 SuperDraft. The move effectively leaves the Sounders with 24 players under contract and six roster spots that could still be filled.
"I like Alex, but the opportunity came along that there was interest from DC and we were going to have to make some decisions to probably cut somebody or waive somebody," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters on Tuesday. "So for him it's a good opportunity and for us it gives us a draft pick down the line."
From the sound of it, Caskey may have been one of those players whose roster spot was in jeopardy. After bursting onto the scene in 2012 -- starting 20 games, playing nearly 1,800 minutes and notching three goals and eight assists across all competitions -- he slumped last year. Caskey didn't register a goal or assist and saw his MLS playing time dip to 430 minutes while battling through an ankle injury. Even worse, there were more than a few instances when he simply looked out of his depth
Although he played 255 minutes during this preseason -- eighth most among Sounders and more than any trialist -- his spot on the depth chart was precarious and he was seemingly passed by a host of new additions.
Caskey will be reunited in DC with two other former Sounders, Jeff Parke and Eddie Johnson. It's also entirely possible that he could break into the regular rotation there and make good on the potential he often showed, especially in 2012.
For the Sounders, this surely heralds several more signings. Trialist Gonzalo Pineda is a veteran of Liga MX who plays in the central midfield and Charleston's Michael Azira can play that position as well. The Sounders have also been rumored to be chasing Costa Rica's Jose Miguel Cubero, who's primarily a central midfielder. Any of those three would have likely knocked Caskey out of a reasonable path to playing time.