In years past, international roster spots were considered a reasonable fungible commodity. They were definitely important, but there were usually enough unused ones in circulation that acquiring one wasn’t particularly difficult. As recently as last year, the going rate for one of these spots was between $75,000-$100,000 in allocation money.
That seems to be changing. A report at MLSsoccer.com revealed that there are currently only six unused international spots circulating around MLS. That may help explain why the going rate for those spots has shot up, with the Philadelphia Union trading $175,000 in GAM to New York City FC and the Portland Timbers acquiring a 2019 spot plus $100,000 in GAM from D.C. United for international spots earlier this year.
Although the Seattle Sounders are one of the teams who have an open spot, this scarcity may also explain why the team has seemed a bit more cautious in their efforts to make an additional signing after recently using two spots on Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Kim Kee-Hee.
The Sounders are surely hoping to keep that spot open for a summer Designated Player signing, meaning their short-term targets are either limited to players who don’t require one or they would need to have strong assurances of being able to open a spot.
Further complicating the situation is that the other five open spots are held by teams which which the Sounders seem unlikely to strike a deal — New England Revolution (notoriously reluctant to trade anything), Portland Timbers (rival), Sporting Kansas City (fellow Western Conference team), Toronto FC (likely to use it themselves) and Vancouver Whitecaps (rival).
Based on it taking Nicolas Lodeiro about 18 months to acquire his green card, the most likely candidates to get one next are probably Jordy Delem (first signed with S2 in 2016), Gustav Svensson (signed in February 2017) and Nouhou (first signed with S2 in 2016).