TUKWILA – One more in. One more gone.
Sounders FC’s flurry of roster activity has stretched well into the season, and just days after the exciting addition of designated player Obafemi Martins, the team is expected to release defender Adam Johansson. The move could be official by today.
The 30-year-old Swedish international was Seattle’s first-choice right back in 2012, starting 27 games, including all four in the MLS playoffs.
Coach Sigi Schmid said plans to cut Johansson, who hasn’t been training with the team the past few days, are primarily due to salary-cap considerations
But there are other reasons, too, particularly depth at the position with versatile veteran Brad Evans likely to see more time at right back after the addition of DP midfielder Shalrie Joseph.
The emergence of 19-year-old Seattle native DeAndre Yedlin, who has started three games, was also a factor.
“It’s very important for Adam’s career for him to have regular first-team minutes, because he’s on the Swedish national team,” Schmid said. “And with Brad maybe dropping to right back, and DeAndre’s development, that might not have made that an all-regular basis for him.”
Johansson, who made more than $180,000 last year, was affected by a sprained knee in preseason, but Schmid said the injury is no longer an issue.
The coach added that Johansson has hopes of being involved in Sweden’s World Cup qualifiers this year and, hopefully, be in the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Fighting for minutes won’t help that cause.
“I think at the end of the day … he realized it’s beneficial for him, as well,” said Schmid, comparing that aspect to the January exit of forward Fredy Montero, who hopes to get more involved with the Colombian national team.
Yedlin, one of the team’s surprises, has said that Johansson “teaches me a lot. We definitely talk and he helps me out with the position. He tells me tricks of the trade that I never knew.”
Having Johansson’s salary off the books should allow the Sounders some summer spending, perhaps making use of their high placement in the allocation order (a mechanism used for, among other things, the return of U.S. national team players to MLS).
It would also give Seattle three open roster sports, another indication more moves are to come.