Looks like we may have gotten a little ahead of ourselves when MLS announced an influx of Targeted Allocation Money last week. While it's true that the Seattle Sounders -- like every MLS team -- have about $2 million of new money to spend over the next couple seasons, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll be able to go out and sign a bunch of new players.
In an enlightening interview with the Seattle Times, Lagerwey explained that the Sounders effectively went all-in during the 2015 summer transfer window. In signing Erik Friberg, Nelson Haedo Valdez, Andreas Ivanschitz and Román Torres, the Sounders not only committed the entirety of the first Targeted Allocation Money installment ($500,000 that could theoretically be spread out until 2019) but also gambled that more money would be added to that budget. In other words, the $800,000 of TAM the team will get for 2016 is already committed.
"One of the narratives that’s been out there is that if we’re letting go all these guys, we must have tons of space (editor's note: Who could he possibly be talking about?). They’re going to sign seven starters and going to be great. The reality is that because of the summer … we did have to move some guys out to get to a break-even point where we could keep our current team."
- Lagerwey, to the Times
The math is hardly transparent, but Lagerwey did make some effort to explain it. The Sounders only needed to make room for the prorated lengths of all four signings last summer. In Valdez's case, as a midseason DP, he only hit the cap at half the normal rate. In 2016, the Sounders need to budget room for the full-season rate on Friberg, Torres and Ivanschitz, plus a full cap hit on Valdez. Add in some raises and all that new money apparently dried up real quick.
As for the influx of Homegrown Player funds, the Sounders are apparently going all-in on the hope that Jordan Morris finally succumbs to their repeated advances. The good news is that Morris doesn't seem to have much left to prove in college after leading Stanford to their first-ever men's soccer national championship on Sunday.
"He may take or not take it. But that money is also spoken for."
- on Morris
Of course, the Sounders will still make some additions this offseason. With only 20 players under contract -- which includes Pappa -- the math dictates it. Also left unspoken is how the rumored attempts to trade Osvaldo Alonso could potentially affect the ledger.
But it sounds as if the team that starts against Club America on Feb. 23 will look eerily similar to the one that lost to FC Dallas in the playoffs. Time will tell if that's a good thing.