The Seattle Sounders FC announced on Tuesday that they have signed central midfielder Osvaldo Alonso to a long-term contract, which would make him a designated player in the first move of many expected this offseason. This signing does not break any MLS rules, as the DP contract of Mauro Rosales expired as of the end of the 2013 season.
Alonso, 28, signed with Seattle in 2008 after a breakout season with Charleston Battery of the USL First Division in which he started 31 games and scored seven goals; he would be named league Rookie of the Year. Alonso instantly became a starter for head coach Sigi Schmid in the defensive midfielder role, and he has not looked back, starting 135 MLS matches and becoming the the all-time leader for Seattle. For those people who do not follow the Sounders regularly, Alonso is the heartbeat of this team. In five seasons, he has missed just 23 matches for Seattle, and in those matches, the club has a record of seven wins, five draws and 11 losses.
With Alonso now being secured long term, the Sounders can now focus on the rest of the squad and the questions that still remain; the biggest question of those being, what is Mauro Rosales‘s fate now? Rosales will need to take a pay cut to remain with the Rave Green now that all three DP slots are filled. The changing tactics have left Rosales on the bench for most of the stretch run, but if he was to indeed take a pay cut to remain with the club, he would be a very good option as a substitute when an offensive spark is needed.
Another question for Seattle will be, what happens at the forward positions? Eddie Johnson has made it very clear that he thinks he deserves a raise, and he does. His play for the Sounders during the past two seasons has shown that Eddie is worth the money. The fact of the matter is that Seattle has more important pieces to take care of before Johnson, like re-signing Brad Evans and Michael Gspurning, and figuring out what to do at center back.
Recently, however, Obafemi Martins has stated his desire to play in Turkey for Galatasaray. Martins feels “out of the loop” in regards to the Nigerian National Team, and at 29 years old, still thinks that he can contribute for them. Martins has not been called into the Nigerian camp since the World Cup Qualifier on March 23 against Kenya. If Martins does leave, however, do the Sounders consider making EJ their third DP?
What we do know is that this wild Sounders offseason is only just beginning.