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Rift with Schmid triggered Nkufo exit
SportsPress Northwest, March 18th, 2011 8:11PM

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Disagreement with Coach Sigi Schmid, and not a training-field incident as had been suspected, prompted the Sounders to terminate their deal with Swiss forward Blaise Nkufo shortly before Seattle's season opener last Tuesday.

Rather than playing as a burly target forward as envisioned by Schmid, Nkufo preferred a deeper role as the game unfolded. Differences between player and coach marked the team's preseason preparations. Once the rift between the two widened and appeared impassable, Seattle moved quickly to trim him off the roster in time to get salary-cap relief for this season.

As a player with a guaranteed contract, Nkufo's $480,000 salary would have counted against the cap for the entire season if he was on the roster for the team's first game. MLS rules allow a team to buy out one such contract per year to get credit against the salary cap.

Nkufo's departure opens up cap space and a DP slot the Sounders can utilize this season.

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