By John Boyle
Adam Johansson has not played for Sounders FC so far this season because of a knee injury. Salary cap concerns, as well as the team’s depth at Johansson’s right back position, however, will keep the Swedish defender from playing for Seattle in the future.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said Tuesday that the team will part ways with Johansson, the team’s starting right back last season. Johansson is expected to be officially waived as early as Wednesday.
“We’re going to part ways,” Schmid said. “It’s really a salary cap situation, primarily.”
This year’s salary numbers have not yet been released by the league, 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 in the offseason). Of course strapped for cap room 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 on the US national team, and with newly-signed midfielder Shalrie Joseph likely to push Evans out of the starting lineup at center mid, Schmid said Evans will see more time at right back in the future. Add to that the fact that rookie DeAndre Yedlin has been better than anyone could have been expected from a 19-year-old, and the presence of veteran Zach Scott, and it makes sense for the Sounders to try to cut costs at the position.
“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 he 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.”