There weren’t a ton of big surprises when the Seattle Sounders released their list of players already signed for 2019 on Monday, but there was at least one piece of potentially big news: Osvaldo Alonso is officially eligible to be a free agent.
Alonso, who could still potentially return, is the last of the Sounders players who were both part of the original MLS squad and continuously with the team since then.
Aside from Alonso, though, the players whose options were declined or have not yet been re-signed is notable mostly because of how unsurprising it is. No one other than Alonso played even as many as 1,000 minutes this year and most of the players who had their options declined were getting more playing time with S2 than the First Team.
In addition to Alonso entering free agency, the Sounders declined the contract options of goalkeeper Calle Brown, Tony Alfaro, Felix Chenkam, and midfielder Lamar Neagle, who will join Alonso as a free agent. Aaron Kovar, who spent the 2018 season on loan with LAFC, is also out of contract.
On Monday, the following players saw their options exercised for 2019: goalkeeper Bryan Meredith; defenders Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall and Jordan McCrary; midfielders Jordy Delem, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Harry Shipp, Gustav Svensson and Henry Wingo. Svensson was one that was expected to return, but the club had not officially confirmed until today.
These 10 players were joined by 12 who were already under contract for 2019: goalkeeper Stefan Frei; defenders Waylon Francis, Kelvin Leerdam, Nouhou, Román Torres and Brad Smith; midfielders Handwalla Bwana, Nicolás Lodeiro and Víctor Rodríguez; and forwards Will Bruin, Jordan Morris and Raúl Ruidíaz.
Although there are likely to be several more changes to the roster during the offseason, chances are the Sounders will look an awful lot like they did at the end of 2018. All nine of the Sounders who scored at least two goals and 12 of their 13 most-used players are all expected to be back in 2019.
There are a few key dates coming up for the players who were not extended contract offers from the Sounders. FC Cincinnati will hold its Expansion Draft on December 11. Luckily, Seattle will be exempt from having players exposed for this year’s process, as the Sounders were one of five clubs that had players selected by LAFC in their Expansion Draft. Free Agency follows on December 11, with the 2018 MLS Waiver Draft coming a day later. The 2018 MLS Re-Entry Draft is set for December 14 and 20.
CURRENT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (2): Stefan Frei, Bryan Meredith
DEFENDERS (8): Waylon Francis, Kim Kee-hee, Kelvin Leerdam, Chad Marshall, Jordan McCrary, Nouhou, Brad Smith, Román Torres
MIDFIELDERS (9): Handwalla Bwana, Jordy Delem, Nicolás Lodeiro, Víctor Rodríguez, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Harry Shipp, Gustav Svensson, Henry Wingo
FORWARDS (3): Will Bruin, Jordan Morris, Raúl Ruidíaz