The MLS "secondary" transfer window will close on Thursday. That means the Seattle Sounders -- and every other MLS team -- need to make sure the paperwork on any transfers is at least started by then. There's an added twist to this year's deadline, too: unlike previous years, the MLS trade deadline coincides with the transfer window, adding even more urgency to this week's action.
To help get you prepared, we've pulled out everyone's favorite writing crutch: The Explainer.
Seems pretty straightforward, is it not?
This is MLS, did you really think anything was going to be that easy?!
Good point, so what's the twist?
Aside from the fact that moves can still be announced after the deadline -- the international transfer certificate only needs to have been requested -- there's the rather huge caveat that teams can still add previously out-of-contract players after the deadline. This being the European offseason, there are quite a few highly regarded players who will be without contracts even after the deadline.
When do those players need to be signed by?
The Roster Freeze is on Sept. 16. That's the real deadline for teams needing to finalize their rosters for the remainder of the season and the playoffs.
Are we expecting the Sounders to do anything?
Chatter around the team has slowly but steadily picked up pace over the past week or so -- perhaps most notably Taylor Twellman mentioning something during halftime of Sunday's ESPN game. We haven't gotten any firm confirmations, but at this point we do expect the Sounders to make one or possibly even two signings.
Is that code for "the Sounders are signing Zlatan Ibrahimovich"?
Any juicy rumors I should know about?
Unfortunately, the Sounders have done a pretty good job of keeping the lid on anything. There really isn't even one rumor we'd deem particularly credible right now.
Do we think they'll sign a DP-quality player, at least?
The chances of the Sounders using some Targeted Allocation Money to sign at least one player seems a reasonable hope, with the most plausible scenario involving the "buying down" of Osvaldo Alonso.
Wouldn't the Sounders still need to open roster space?
Technically, they already have two open spots. Sounder at Heart has learned that Andy Craven and Andres Correa are both on the Disabled List, meaning that the Sounders could sign two players without having to make any other moves.
What happens when those guys come off the DL, though?
Well, someone else could simply go on. With the litany of injuries the Sounders have endured, there will likely be candidates to replace them. But it's also possible that they'll never be removed from the DL, and finish out the season with S2 where they are both more likely to get playing time, anyway.
So, what you're saying is that everything will magically be fixed soon?
Uh, well, yeah, about that ... I don't know. It sure would be great if the Sounders could fix whatever is ailing them simply be making a signing or two. But the Vancouver Whitecaps match showed that the problem isn't just about talent. The Sounders were closer to full strength than they'd been in seven matches and still looked awful. A signing would absolutely help, but the idea that the players who are here will need to be the main drivers of improvement remains true. Let's hope they can make it happen, no matter what happens this week.