[MLS SPOTLIGHT]The Seattle Sounders made their biggest move yet of the offseason with the move that sent Eddie Johnson to D.C. United, but their general manager, minority owner Adrian Hanauer, said more moves are to come as the club wrestles with the fallout from issues related to salary cap constraints.
In Johnson's situation, the second-year forward whose career was resurrected in Seattle had made a very public request for a pay raise that the Sounders, who already have three players (Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martinsand Osvaldo Alonso) signed to Designated Player contracts, were never going to easily meet, and they received what Hanauer termed a "large amount" of allocation money from D.C. United for Johnson, who joins his seventh club in the last seven years after beginning his pro career at Dallas.
Johnson's exit follows that of goalie Michael Gspurning, defender Marc Burch, midfielder Mauro Rosales and winger Steve Zakuani. Only Gspurning has not moved to another MLS club. In their place, Seattle has made deals to acquire goalie Stefan Frei, defender Chad Marshall and the rights to forward Kenny Cooper and Tristan Bowen.
Hanauer told Seattle media on Tuesday that the Johnson deal was mostly related to salary cap issues and not any issues the player had with the club.
"It was certainly reported, and there were some minor incidents," Hanauer said, "but minor incidents happen on every team with many players. A lot of times it doesn’t get reported. I know the speculation is going to be that there were these other massive issues, but really when it came down to it, this was about getting our team balanced in a way from back to front that gives us the best chance of winning."
Seattle previously upgraded Alonso to DP status and re-signed U.S. international Brad Evans, former Costa Rican international Leo Gonzalezand backup keeper Josh Ford.
Hanauer said management knew, once the season ended with the loss to Portland in the Western Conference semifinals, that some significant moves would have to be made, and the intent was to get the Seattle roster as close to being settled as possible when training camp opens on Jan. 20. Now the goal is to round out the roster.
"We certainly have, I would say, likely more moves ahead of us," he added.