The Seattle Sounders pulled off three moves Tuesday, two involving players and one involving allocation money.
That last one might end up having the most effect on this Major League Soccer season. But we’ll start with the other two because they involve names and faces — although names and faces recognizable mostly to those who follow the team closely.
First, the Sounders signed Tony Alfaro, a 22-year-old defender from Cal State Dominguez Hills, the club’s top pick in the January SuperDraft (27th overall).
“Tony is a big center back with good feet and solid technical abilities who did well for us throughout the preseason,” coach Sigi Schmid said in a release. “He is a player with real potential who we think can provide good depth for us on the backline this season.”
The other player move sends away defender Damion Lowe, the eighth overall selection in the 2014 SuperDraft. Lowe has never appeared in an MLS match, losing most of his rookie season to injury and spending most of last season with the Sounders 2 USL team. Late in this preseason, he was loaned to Minnesota United of the North American Soccer League, and now the Sounders clarified that as a season-long deal.
In the final transaction, the Sounders acquired an international roster spot and targeted allocation money (TAM) from Toronto FC in exchange for general allocation money (GAM).
MLS teams are allowed eight international players on their roster. The Sounders were at their limit before the deal, but now have the ability to add an international player, perhaps — but not necessarily — during the current transfer window.
GAM is available for clubs to spend in addition to their salary budgets. TAM can be used only for players making more than the budget maximum, and therefore this move could be a precursor to Seattle filling the designated player opening created by the transfer of Obafemi Martins to the Chinese Super League.
Martins’ departure leaves forwards Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez as Seattle’s remaining designated players.