By John Boyle Herald Writer
TUKWILA — Even though the off-season has given way to meaningful games, the Seattle Sounders continue to reshape their roster.
Last week, Seattle finally welcomed forward Obafemi Martins after a nearly month-long process of acquiring the Nigerian forward, and now the latest move will be the subtraction of defender Adam Johansson.
Johansson has not played for the Sounders this season because of a knee injury, and now he won’t have a future with the team because of salary cap concerns as well as the team’s depth at Johansson’s position. The team’s starting right back last season is expected to be officially waived as early as today.
“We’re going to part ways,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s really a salary cap situation, primarily.”
Major League Soccer has not yet released this year’s salary number, but Johansson made $175,000 in base salary last year, the most of any Sounders defender still on the roster. Jeff Parke, the team’s highest-paid defender last year, was traded to Philadelphia in the off-season.
Of course, cap constrained or not, the Sounders would not have viewed Johansson as expendable if they didn’t have a viable option to replace him. Johansson’s salary is hardly exorbitant for a starter, but it is a lot to pay him if Seattle feels it has quality options at a better price.
Brad Evans, who has primarily played midfield during his career, has experience at right back, including with the US national team. And with newly signed midfielder Shalrie Joseph likely to push Evans out of the starting lineup at center mid once healthy, Schmid said Evans will see playing time at right back for the Sounders in the future.
In addition, rookie DeAndre Yedlin has played better than anyone could have expected from a 19-year-old. Plus there’s the presence of veteran Zach Scott. So, it’s understandable why the Sounders would decide Johansson is a luxury they could no longer afford.
The move also could be best for Johansson, who is trying to remain a member of Sweden’s national team during the build up to the 2014 World Cup.
“With the trade for Shalrie Joseph, and we know that Brad Evans has played some at right back, so that’s a consideration that we have moving forward that Brad would go back there,” Schmid said. “It’s very important for Adam’s career for him to have regular first-team minutes, because he’s on the Swedish national team. And with Brad maybe dropping to right back, DeAndre’s development, that might not have made that an all regular basis for (Johansson). But the main issue is just salary cap and to make things work at the end of the day.
“I think at the end of the day, the recognition is that (Johansson) realized it’s beneficial for him, as well, especially with our thinking that once Shalrie gets in the lineup, we might push Brad back there. Then it becomes a very competitive position back there as well for him.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.