With one fell swoop, Major League Soccer was able to get a million imaginations working. By creating their newest talent acquisition method -- Targeted Allocation Money -- the league effectively gave hope to fans all over the league that their team could sign a shiny, new player.
The Seattle Sounders, logic would dictate, are one of those teams in a prime position to take advantage of it. Osvaldo Alonso perfectly fits the description of the kind of player MLS seems to want its teams to "pay down" from a Designated Player. Whether or not the Sounders are actually planning to do that really depends on who you listen to and what you're choosing to hear.
Take GM Garth Lagerwey. He's been pretty consistent about saying he doesn't feel compelled to make a move just for the sake of it. Just the other day, we had an interview with him that said as much. That's kinda been his mantra ever since he arrived. Even after news of the TAM officially broke, Lagerwey stuck to his guns.
"In my world, it doesn't really change all that much. Simply put, I don't feel compelled to do anything.
"I think we have a pretty good team and I really value the guys on our team. ... I don't want to lose sight of the fact that this is something that we could have done anyway."
An optimist says: "He's just keeping his poker face. Of course the Sounders aren't going to make an unnecessary move. But I trust the Sounders FO is going to get something done."
A pessimist says: "The Sounders are being cheap again. They don't want to spend any more money, even when it's handed to them."
What I think he's saying: "This new money doesn't change our plans. We've always been open to adding someone and always had the ability to do it. If we can get one of the guys we're after, we'll do it. But we don't feel any added pressure to make a move just because we can."
Those statements would have been fine if they were said by themselves, but Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid had already gone on record saying he was making some calls to a prospective recruit. He backed that up with comments to the press on Thursday.
"We have some things we're talking about, following up on and pursuing," Schmid said. "Sometimes it takes a little longer than you want it to, but certainly we're looking. The rule changes things for a lot of people. I think everyone had an idea it might come so they were prepared to use it in an advantageous manner."
Nothing here directly contradicts what Lagerwey is saying, but it does apply a bit more pressure. Assuming Schmid is not just trolling us, there are different ways you can read his comments, too.
An optimist says: "Ho boy, we are signing someone and we are signing someone big. I bet it's Zlatan. It's Zlatan, right? All he needs to do is pick up his gorram phone."
A pessimist says: "If Sigi is calling, we're in trouble. Isn't that someone else's job? We're not getting anyone, just like when we missed out on Prince Tagoe."
What I think he's saying: "We are definitely trying to sign someone. That player is based in Europe and he's probably in Germany. I think there's a good chance that it happens, but I'm not saying that because things change."
TL;DR: The Sounders are going to sign someone if it makes sense, but it won't be someone they weren't already hoping to add. We should at least prepare ourselves for the possibility that no one is coming. The good news is that this is probably the best team in the league when everyone is healthy, so that's not exactly bad news.