It was said by general manager Adrian Hanaeur to expect a very wild offseason for the Seattle Sounders FC after their late-season collapse and after hearing the good news over the past couple of weeks with the new contracts for Osvaldo Alonso and Brad Evans; the Sounders faithful got the dose of the bad news on Monday.
The bad news came in two waves with the first wave crashing the Emerald City at around 2:25 p.m. PT with the news breaking that Seattle had declined the 2014 option on goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
Gspurning, 32, had been a member of the Sounders for two years having signed on with the team after the retirement of Kasey Keller. He had a magnificent first year with the club despite missing more than two months with a hip injury he was regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in MLS registering a goals-against average of 0.73.
His second season was not as impressive and he faltered towards the end of the season. After giving up nine goals over two matches against Colorado Rapids and Vancouver Whitecaps, he was benched in favor of Marcus Hahnemann. He was given the starting job back for the opening round playoff match at home to Colorado but was sent off late in the match for a handball outside of the box.
The move cleared some much-needed salary cap room for the Sounders as Gspurning had made $285,000 during the 2013 season and was most likely in line for a raise. Since he had only been in MLS for two seasons he was not eligible for the Re-Entry Draft.
The second bit of bad news hit just about an hour later when Major League Soccer released the names of the players who were eligible for the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft. Those players who were either out of contract or had their options declined and fit into the qualifying criteria.
Five Sounders were on the list including former captain Mauro Rosales, Steve Zakuani, Marc Burch, Blair Gaven and injury-plagued Josh Ford. The players do have the option of re-signing with their current club until 5:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday but I would not expect to see any of these players re-signed with the exception of possibly Burch.
Another question that has come up due to these revelations is after saving nearly $800,000 against the salary cap does that mean that Seattle could make a better offer to keep Eddie Johnson? Maybe the Sounders have an eye on a player or two from the re-entry pool. Only time will tell and there is sure to be more news with Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft taking place on Thursday.