MLS Ticker: Sounders to pick up Johnson’s option, Crew make major roster moves and more

By JOSE M. ROMERO

The Seattle Sounders intend to pick up forward Eddie Johnson’s 2013 contract option, certainly a reward for his 17-goal season (in all competitions) and being named MLS Comeback Player of the Year.

Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer told the Associated Press the news on Tuesday, when Hanauer and coach Sigi Schmid conducted a season wrap-up session with the media at the team’s facility in Tukwila, Wash.

Johnson, who earned a callup to the U.S. national team this year for World Cup qualifying and scored twice against Antigua & Barbuda, will be paid at less than a designated player salary. The Sounders, said Hanauer, are facing salary-cap constraints for 2013 and could make some cost-cutting moves before next season.

So while it appears Johnson will be back in rave green, it seems apparent that a few 2012 Sounders will not, with speculation that Johnson’s striker partner, Fredy Montero, could be among those.

More MLS news after the jump:

Crew exercise options on 10 players, part with GK Hesmer

The Columbus Crew picked up club options for 2013 on 10 players Wednesday, giving them 17 players on the current roster.

The team also declined options on seven players including goalkeeper Will Hesmer, who sat out much of 2012 due to a hip injury but spent six seasons with the Crew and won an MLS Cup with the team. Hesmer departs Ohio with franchise goalkeeping records in games played and started, saves, wins and shutouts.

The Crew picked up the options of goalkeepers Andy Gruenebaum and Matt Lampson, defenders Eric Gehrig and Josh Williams, midfielders Bernardo Anor, Dilly Duka, Ethan Finlay and Kevan George and forwards Justin Meram and Aaron Schoenfeld.

Those whose contract options were not picked up, beyond Hesmer, were defenders Rich Balchan, Julius James and Sebastian Miranda, midfielders Chris Birchall and Tony Tchani and forward Tommy Heinemann.

Toronto FC welcomes Payne to town

New Toronto FC president and general manager Kevin Payne was officially introduced in Canada Wednesday.

Payne said he intends to retain Paul Mariner as TFC’s head coach. He also said he intends to meet with the club’s supporters groups soon, and that the job he took is the only one he would have left DC United for.

Payne, 59, spent the past 16 seasons with DCU and as CEO guided that team to four MLS Cups.

He’ll oversee both team and business operations for Toronto FC, which is entering its seventh season in MLS in 2013 and has never made the playoffs despite tremendous fan support.

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22 Responses to MLS Ticker: Sounders to pick up Johnson’s option, Crew make major roster moves and more

  1. Dinho says:

    What’s up with Tony Tchani. Talk about somebody’s stock dropping….

  2. evan says:

    i still can’t believe the Dynamo once traded Dwayne DeRosario for Julius James…

  3. The Imperative Voice says:

    Birchall is a downward spiral from the whole Port Vale thing.

    The Crew just need to do a steady build thing like they did leading up to Schelotto and winning the Cup. They had a few rough years with a bunch of youth internationals but it eventually worked ou accumulativelyt. Stick with the kids, keep adding, and then pop players like Higuain in the middle of them. Almost worked this year.

  4. Vince the pince says:

    Tchani and Opara are both floating around $200,000 guaranteed salaries. Not suprised the crew and the quakes wanted those heavy salaries off the books. Still lots of potential there, might be worth a nibble for a club that has some breathing room in there salary cap.

    • beto says:

      wow, thats way to much in MLS terms.. for prospects that are not starters. I doubt too many other clubs will want to pick up those contracts. maybe Sweden or Norway

  5. Vince the pince says:

    their*

  6. Rex says:

    Yeah, those guys will still be in the league, once teams are able to sign them to new, more reasonable contracts.

    • GG says:

      Does anyone know how the rules around this work?
      When do they become available for clubs to sign to new more reasonable contracts?

  7. Ryan says:

    An ongoing tracker of who is available in the reentry draft would be pretty cool.

  8. Steve C says:

    Sebastian Miranda was one of the most frustrating players to watch this past season. Most of the Crew’s head-scratching moments came out of his play. Glad to see he wasn’t picked up.

    • Nathan says:

      So wrong there. He’s a decent right back. Our concerns were CB because Warzycha is a moron and would sit our only LB, play our best CB out of position at LB and weaken the spine of the team. Now, they jettisoned our only LB and yesterday kicked our RB to the curb.

      Why couldn’t the Crew have declined to retain Warzycha yesterday too?

      • Frank says:

        Vukovic wasa LB too, wasn’t he? I thought he had some decent games early in the season before he ended up on RW’s $hit list.

      • bruce says:

        We couldn’t get that lucky Nathan. Warzycha is destroying our team. The only reason I renewed my season tickets was because we need to support our team or lose them. There are too many other cities begging for an MLS team. If the Hunt’s can smell an extra dollar to be made somewhere else, the Crew will be gone. It is a shame was become of a great team.

  9. g-dub says:

    It will be interesting to see how much rebuilding the Sounders do. My sense is they need to do some pretty major work on the roster to reach the next level.