Thirteen Seattle Sounders veterans will be available Wednesday when Orlando City SC and New York City FC begin stocking their rosters through the MLS expansion draft.
A half dozen of those players were at least spot starters for Seattle during the just-completed MLS season. Among them are Leo Gonzalez (20 starts) and Zach Scott (16), who have been Sounders since the 2009 expansion season, along with Jalil Anibaba (14), Kenny Cooper (14), Dylan Remick (eight) and Micheal Azira (six). Also on Seattle’s unprotected list were Tristan Bowen, Josh Ford, Aaron Long, Jimmy Ockford, Kevin Parsemain and Cam Weaver. A club spokesman said 2013 first-round draft pick (10th overall) Eriq Zavaleta also is available, although his name was not on the original list released by league.
MLS teams are allowed to protect 11 players each. Seattle chose to protect Osvaldo Alonso, Chad Barrett, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall, Obafemi Martins, Lamar Neagle, Marco Pappa, Gonzalo Pineda and Andy Rose. Four other Sounders are automatically safe from expansion selection due to their status as homegrown or Generation Adidas developmental players: Aaron Kovar, Sean Okoli, DeAndre Yedlin and Damion Lowe.
“There’s a lot that goes into it with regards to age and player form, contracts, the future of the team and where we’re going,” Seattle sporting director Chris Henderson said on the club website. “We’ve had some really tough decisions, and you can only protect 11, so there’s many times we wish we could protect 15, but we had to cut off the line. We keep our fingers crossed leading into this draft. Sometimes you take risk and you leave a player out there, and you can get by without losing someone.”
The expansion drafts will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Other established players from around MLS include former Sounders Eddie Johnson of D.C. United and Mauro Rosales of Vancouver, Davy Arnaud of D.C. United, Alan Gordon of Los Angeles, Conor Casey of Philadelphia, Tim Cahill of New York and 2013 goalkeeper of the year Donovan Ricketts of Portland.
Once a player is selected, his former team is then allowed to protect one more player from its list. No team can lose more than two players.
Also Monday, the Sounders officially announced the retirement of goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann after 21 professional seasons.
Hahnemann began his pro career with the A-League Sounders from 1994-96 and ended it with the MLS Sounders from 2012-14. In between, the former Seattle Pacific University star made more than 300 appearances in England and earned nine caps for the United States national team.
“I am excited for the next part of what’s to come,” Hahnemann said through a club press release. “That’s all sorts of different opportunities ahead of me. The cool part is that I got to start off my career as a Sounder, and I got to end it a Sounder.”
In other personnel moves around the league Monday: