And while there is benefit in that, there also is the frustration of knowing that one or two of those players will likely blossom as members of the Portland Timbers or Vancouver Whitecaps.
Under the rules of the MLS expansion draft, which will be held Nov. 24, each of the existing teams will protect 11 players. But the rest of the roster becomes available for selection by the incoming clubs. Once a player is selected, his former team can protect one additional player. But then all the players not among the protected 12 once again become subject to selection. No team can lose more than two players.
“We talk about it every day,” Sounders technical director Chris Henderson said today as the club resumed training for its regular-season visit from Chivas USA. “The Portland coaches are all coming to watch the game Friday night. We expect with our roster we’re going to lose two guys – that’s the expectation. We went through it last year, and it’s so disappointing. You lose a guy who’s been with the organization so long, and he’s such a good player. It’s great to see him doing well because he came from us, but it’s hard to lose somebody. We’re trying to pick the right guys, but you never know.”
Last season, the Sounders lost Sebastien Le Toux to the first-year Philadelphia Union. And then Seattle had to settle back and watch as the original Sounder blossomed into an All-Star and the Union’s leader in goals (13) and assists (10).
However, there was no clear mistake among the players the Sounders protected: Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Kasey Keller, Freddie Ljungberg, Tyrone Marshall, Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani. All went on to start games this season, and all would remain among the possible starters when healthy -- with the exceptions of Marshall, who has lost his starting job, and Ljungberg, who was traded.
I have a little more on all this in the Thursday paper ... and then pretty certainly more and more until the lists are submitted in November.