By John Boyle
Earlier this week when Sounders FC acquired midfielder Shalrie Joseph, filling the team’s final designated player slot, general manager Adrian Hanauer made it pretty clear that his team could still free up a DP slot before the season by buying one of the other DPs out, or by reworking a contract so that player was no longer occupying a DP slot.
“I’d be lying if I said that we’re not very interested in acquiring another forward, and I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a player who potentially could fill that designated player role, of which we’ve got three right now,” Hanauer said. “So that gives you a heads up that we are considering all of our options over the next couple of weeks… We realize that gives us three designated players between Mauro (Rosales), Christian (Tiffert) and Shalrie, but we also have two weeks left and we still have the ability to buy a player out if we decide to do that to open up a slot for a regular salaried player, or a design player spot if that was something we decided to do.”
It was easy to connect the dots and figure that Hanauer was likely talking about Tiffert, the German midfielder Seattle signed last summer. The addition of Joseph gives Seattle a ton of talented depth in the midfield, and more importantly, Tiffert has been away from the team for most of the preseason. Over the past couple of weeks, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid has cited an undisclosed injury when asked about Tiffert, but on a conference call Friday morning, Schmid deferred to Hanauer when asked about Tiffert.
“There are things that are being discussed in regards to Christian, and part of that is really a better question for Adrian as to where that is,” Schmid said. “He’s not with us right now; he’s training on his own there. He seems to be doing all right with the things that were bothering him at the time, but now it’s gone into maybe another phase that Adrian can address better.
Now, does that mean Tiffert is as good as gone? Hardly, but when a coach defers to the GM when asked about a player, it is clearly no longer an injury issue (if it ever was in the first place).
Also of note…
Schmid said he is closer to figuring out a starting lineup, though he is still tinkering to figure out who will start at forward with Eddie Johnson. Schmid said they’ll look at Mauro Rosales, who has primarily been a midfielder, but played some forward, at forward during tonight’s preseason game.
Hanauer mentioned earlier in the week that Seattle is close to signing veteran defender Djimi Traore, who has been training with the team for more than two weeks. Schmid said Friday that he too is expecting to get a deal done soon.
“Hopefully there will be something early next week,” he said. “I feel pretty positive about that one.”