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What might Sounders do with newfound roster flexibility?

With about $250,000 of newly opened cap space and two international roster spots, the Sounders may soon start making bigger moves.

What happens with Román Torres could be a big part of determining Sounders’ next move.
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

This has, so far, been one of the quietest offseasons in Seattle Sounders history. The only new signings they’ve made are center back Jonathan Campbell and goalkeeper Trey Muse, neither of whom are likely to see significant minutes with the roster constructed as it is today.

Part of why the Sounders haven’t made many additions, though, is the reality that they didn’t have a ton of roster flexibility after bringing back virtually all of last year’s squad.

The first of what could be several dominoes fell this week when Waylon Francis was traded back to the Columbus Crew in exchange for $50,000 of General Allocation Money. Not only did the Sounders recoup what they had paid to acquire Francis last offseason, they also opened up the roughly $200,000 in salary cap space Francis was due to take up.

Around the same time as the Francis trade, the Sounders also announced that Jordy Delem and Kelvin Leerdam had received their green cards and would no longer occupy international roster spots.

“We’ll spend those spots certainly this season,” Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey told reporters on Monday. “(Getting green cards) is absolutely necessary in terms of how we want to plan the team going forward. Those spots are already spoken for in terms of our offseason planning. That doesn’t mean something is imminent, but it’s very helpful and we hope to have both of those spots filled before the end of the season.”

These are the positions the Sounders are most likely to be targeting for improvement:

Defensive midfielder: The Sounders have been linked to several defensive midfielders this offseason, most recently Jefferson Intriago of Ecuador’s LDU Quito. As it stands now, Seattle has three capable players for two starting spots. That’s perfectly fine, but it could get dicey with a couple of injuries. There’s also the reality Gustav Svensson may not be around past this year, so finding his long-term replacement isn’t a bad idea.

Attacking midfielder: Lagerwey has already gone on record saying he doesn’t want to preemptively block Morris before getting a better idea of how he looks. The Sounders also have players like Harry Shipp and Handwalla Bwana likely coming off the bench. Still, adding another attack-minded midfielder who can ideally play wide or in the middle — like, say, Paolo Hurtado — is something they’d likely consider. If that player can replicate the speed element that Morris brings, all the better.

Centerback: This may seem like a funny one to include considering the Sounders already have what is likely the best three-man centerback rotation in the league, but the equation changes dramatically if Román Torres is traded. There’s also the reality that Chad Marshall will turn 35 this season, and it’s unclear how many more years he has left. Signing a young centerback who can grow into the position would be a smart move.

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