Seattle Sounders FC 2 made what amounted to a full purge of their roster in the offseason. While a lot, if not most, of the purge made sense there were a couple of player departures that lead to raised eyebrows.
The first was Jordan Schweitzer signing with Orlando City B. Schweitzer wasn’t set to light MLS on fire in 2017 but it looked like he would be a stabilizing force in S2’s midfield and had the potential to be a solid bench player for the first team in the future. After practice today Coach Ezra Hendrickson said of Schweitzer’s departure, “That was a personal decision. We would have loved to have Jordan back. We thought Jordan really came on toward the end of last year and scored some key goals in key games. He felt from a personal standpoint that he might have a better opportunity of making (Orlando's) first team. When we bring guys in, we tell them the goal is to make the first team here. If you don't have that goal of being an MLS player, there's the door. In his case, he felt he had a better opportunity at another organization. it wasn't us getting rid of him.” There was always some speculation that Schweitzer left in search of greener pastures and this seems to confirm those suspicions.
While there were questions about Schweitzer leaving, his exodus was never as mysterious as the seeming disappearance of Mark O’Ojong. The unceremonious cutting of a player of such marked potential has always seemed a bit odd but S2 GM Kurt Schmid offered a little bit of context today, “Mark (O’Ojong) is no longer under contract with us. He and his agent are working on other opportunities. We decided to keep Nouhou (Tolo) and with Mark we made a different decision.” Reading between the lines a bit it seems as though the team was not ready to offer O’Ojong a first team contract and in turn, O’Ojong and/or his agent were not looking to spend another year in the USL. That at least seems the most likely scenario.
Both these cases are a reminder that putting together a team is a complicated process with many variables, and that it is even more complicated when S2 and its eye towards the future is involved.