Sounders Insider

Sounders sign Alonso to DP contract, Rosales loses DP status but could return

Here is the news release from the club:

Seattle Sounders FC has signed midfielder Osvaldo Alonso to a multi-year contract, the club announced today. Alonso will occupy one of Seattle's Designated Player spots.

"Ozzie is the ultimate competitor who has given everything to Sounders FC," said Sounders FC Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer. "His passion for the game of soccer and his drive to be the best are validated by being named team MVP four-consecutive seasons by his teammates. Ozzie is a key building block for our club and we are happy to sign him to a long-term contract extension."

Alonso, 28, has been a steady presence in Seattle's midfield since signing with the club on January 27, 2009. He is a three-time MLS-All Star and was named Sounders FC MVP for four consecutive seasons. Alonso continued to establish himself this season as one of the league's premier defensive midfielders while leading MLS in passing accuracy (88.58).

"Alonso is the model of consistency for us in central midfield," said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. "His on-field leadership and tenacious play make him one of the top holding midfielders in the league."

Alonso made 26 starts in the 2013 regular season, logging 2,179 minutes, becoming the first player in club history to make 110 starts, 120 appearances and play 10,000 minutes. Overall, Alonso leads Sounders FC in games played (139), games started (135), minutes (11,839) and ranks second in shots (180). He is also tied-fifth with 12 assists, tied-10th with six goals and his two postseason goals are second-most in club history.

"I am excited for the contract Seattle gave me," said Alonso. "I am very happy for the confidence they placed in me to play several more years here. I hope I can help bring an MLS Cup to Seattle."In addition to his three-straight All-Star selections, Alonso was also named to the MLS Best XI and earned U.S. Open Cup Player of the Tournament honors in 2012, helping lead Sounders FC to its first-ever Western Conference Championship series. In February of 2011, Alonso signed a contract extension with Sounders FC through the 2014 season. He set career highs in 2011 with 33 appearances, 32 starts, 2,891 minutes and three goals with three assists.

In 2010, Alonso was instrumental in Sounders FC compiling the best record in MLS over the second half of the season, returning from a seven-game absence due to injury to lead Seattle to a 9-2-2 record. He also helped the defense to nine of its 11 shutouts. In his first season in MLS, Alonso made 27 appearances in 2009, scoring one goal and three assists.

A native of Cuba, Alonso defected during the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Houston. He made 17 international appearances for Cuba, scoring twice. Earlier he served as captain of the U-23 national team during qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games. Alonso was granted full U.S. citizenship on June 16, 2012.

Alonso played three years (2005-07) for FC Pinar del Rio, winner of the Cuban championship in 2006.

Transaction: Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) - Signed MID Osvaldo Alonso

Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer had hinted at this kind of move during his post-season interviews when he said the club was looking forward to getting Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins together for a full season, and when he added this:

"Without going into detail, I think it’s highly likely that Clint, along with Ozzie, along with Brad Evans form a triumvirate of leaders on the team going forward," he said. "Along with a number of other guys on the team, we feel like we have a very good core going into the off-season. But that doesn’t change the fact that we feel we need to make some other changes to get back on track."

Obviously, neither Mauro Rosales nor Eddie Johnson were mentioned among that "triumvirate of leaders," although the club holds options on each. We are told that Rosales could still return, although not as a DP.

Here is what Hanauer had to say when asked if it would be possible for Johnson to return happily without using a DP slot:

"I’m not sure I can answer that," he said. "We need to sit down again and talk. Like every player on the planet, he wants to make as much money and be treated as fairly as possible. We just have to sit down and figure out whether there’s a way to make that happen."