There weren’t a ton of big surprises when the Seattle Sounders announced their end-of-season roster decisions, but they do give a pretty decent framework for the upcoming offseason.
Here are some of the main things we learned:
Sounders are happy with Albert Rusnák as a 10
Perhaps the biggest decision the Sounders had to make going into the offseason was whether or not to exercise the option on Albert Rusnák's contract, primarily because it would maintain his status as a Designated Player. There was a certain logic to the idea that the Sounders would have been better off trying to get Rusnák to agree to an extension that would bring his salary-cap hit below the threshold where he could be bought down below DP level with TAM, but that was always a lot easier in theory than in practice. The big variable there is it required Rusnák being agreeable to those terms, and declining his option without having that extension in place meant you risked losing him for nothing.
Exercising Rusnák's option may not have been the most ambitious move by the Sounders, but it is an acknowledgment that he actually played pretty well when deployed farther up the field in a position he's more accustomed to. Rusnák started 15 games as a No. 10 over the season's final 20 games and scored five goals in those matches, with the Sounders going 7-4-4 (1.67 PPG) and outscoring opponents 20-16.
This is the final year on Rusnák's contract, though, so it remains at least possible that he and the Sounders could agree to an extension that guarantees him more total money while bringing his annual salary below the TAM-able DP threshold (currently about $1.7M).