The Tacoma Defiance announced on Thursday that they picked up the options on four players, most notably leading scorer Braudilio Rodrigues. Combined with the five players they already had under contract, they now have nine players signed for 2024.
Blake Bowen, Frank Daroma and Gio Miglietti also had their options exercised, while Chris Aquino, Antonio Herrera, Elias Katsaros, Georgi Minoungou and Pedro Rodrigues were already under contract. Additionally, the Sounders signed Cody Baker, Paul Rothrock and Stuart Hawkins from Defiance during the season.
Rodrigues remaining under contract is particularly notable as he enjoyed a breakout season with 17 goals during the regular season and playoffs, setting an S2/Defiance record. Of all the players currently under contract with Defiance, he would seemingly be the closest to a first-team deal and will likely be allowed to compete for one next preseason. The biggest obstacles are his age (he’s already 24), his international status (he moved here from Portugal) and that his MLS rights are controlled by NYCFC (he was a second-round pick in the 2023 SuperDraft).
At the same time, the Defiance announced that they’d declined the option on Eythor Bjørgolfsson, while Juan Alvarez, Wallis Lapsley, Adolfo Ovalle, Travian Sousa and Hal Uderitz are all out of contract. The club is still in negotiations with Sousa and Uderitz.
Alvarez was once considered a reasonably high-level prospect. He made three appearances for the US U17 team, signed a pro contract with Defiance as a 16-year-old and even made the first-team bench as an emergency signing in 2021, but has failed to significantly progress since then.