Today's MLS Players Union salary release is only a rough guide as to how much salary cap room there is. It does not give any idea as to what Allocation Money is available. While he does not give precise details Seattle Sounders FC Sporting Director Chris Henderson did tell Sounder at Heart today that the team has the financial flexibility to add a player in either the current transfer window (closes on May 12th) or in the post-World Cup window (from July 8th to August 6th). Today the organization also moved Damion Lowe and Kevin Parsemain to the Disabled List, opening up two roster spots and two international slots.
"We have allocation money so we're constantly looking. We know some of the positions we're looking at. We're getting players coming through, but it has to be the right situation for us," Henderson said. "Not knowing who we'll lose for the World Cup is another issue as well. Obviously Clint's going to be in there, but you still never know how that's going to play out."
The World Cup could create some roster damage for Seattle. Clint Dempsey is clearly going to be there. Both Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin are in the running for a spot on the United States' roster as well. There is a non-zero chance (maybe not much more than zero though) that Nigeria reconnects with Obafemi Martins. Depending on who goes to camp and when players are called in and how long they stay out a total of six games could be of issue. A move now would likely be something to help during that time.
But the World Cup also can help MLS and Sounders FC add talent. Hanauer & Co added Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez after the 2010 World Cup. When the league launched, it captured several name talents from the 1994 World Cup held in the USA. Henderson expects MLS to continue its history of post-World Cup action.
"I think moving forward the league is going to be aggressive. I think our league has done a really good job after World Cups grabbing some players. Obviously after '94 Sunil did a great job grabbing some amazing players - Valderama, Etcheverry. I think consistently the league's done a good job finding guys in that period. That's kind of the time people are looking to move," Henderson reminds Sounder at Heart. "I think going forward you're going to see it and I think this year could be one of those years."
Dempsey, Martins and Alonso all are Designated Players so Seattle can not add another DP without losing one. That does not mean that they will ignore possible talents in the summer window.
"Obviously we don't have any Designated Player spots open, but we have enough that we can get a decent player," he said. "Depending on if it's the right fit with the timing and what the contract would look like we're not shy to look."
One of the twists in the salary cap league is that the team will need to be concerned not just with the current cap hit, roster limits and international slots, but how those will operate in future years.
"When you take the allocation money into account we have some room to add somebody. At the same time you always have to think about the years going forward," Henderson notes. "You have to make sure that you balance it right. We're actively looking."
And at the end of 2014 there will also be the wrinkle of an expansion draft as Orlando City SC and New York City FC join the league.
"We've already started finding ways to protect players. Some players can't be taken. Some players you have to look at. Any time you're doing a new contracts with players too you have to think about expansion."