Seattle Sounders FC are parting ways with 23-year-old attacking midfielder Zach Mathers, waiving him ahead of the MLS season opener on Sunday. The Sounders selected Mathers in the 2nd round of the 2016 SuperDraft out of Duke University, where he put up 14 goals and 18 assists in 3 years.
Mathers spent his first year with the organization signed to S2 but after putting in consistently impressive attacking performances was signed to the First Team along with S2 compatriots Nouhou and Jordy Delem. Despite the First Team contract Mathers spent the entirety of the 2017, short a couple US Open Cup matches, with S2, where he proved to be the USL side’s best attacker. He led the team with 11 goals and co-led along Ray Saari with 4 assists. Despite the numbers Mathers continued to struggle for First Team game time this preseason and the Sounders ultimately decided to move on from the player.
Ultimately the Sounders may have wanted Mathers to be a player he was never going to be. The team always stated that they saw him as a defensive midfielder but on the pitch Mathers has the soul of a buccaneering, goal-hungry attacker. Hopefully this move leaves both sides free to find a better fit.
This move shrinks the Sounders to 27 players and opens a spot on the Reserve Player portion of the roster, which is reserved for players under 24 and does not hit the cap. This could indicate the imminent signing of an S2 player, such as Sam Rogers or Ray Saari, to the First Team.