Back to reality: Sounders will lose some fan favorites (Roster news)

15232265_10154179066983589_7034778555904732413_nSEATTLE, WA—(Sounders release)  Following the club’s historic victory in the 2016 MLS Cup and ahead of Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft, Seattle Sounders FC today announced that it is exercising the 2017 contract options of eight players, placing the club’s current roster heading into next season at 16 players. MLS is set to announce the protected lists for the 2016 Expansion Draft later this morning.

The following players saw their options exercised for 2017: goalkeeper Tyler Miller, defenders Tony Alfaro, Oniel Fisher, Joevin Jones and Román Torres, midfielders Brad Evans and Aaron Kovar, in addition to forward Victor Mansaray.

Eight players were already under contract for 2016, including goalkeeper Stefan Frei, defender Chad Marshall, midfielders Osvaldo Alonso, Nicolás Lodeiro, Alvaro Fernandez and Cristian Roldan, as well as forwards Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris.

Additionally, Sounders FC announced that it is not exercising the contract options of the following players: Oalex Anderson, Michael Farfan, Erik Friberg, Herculez Gomez, Andreas Ivanschitz, Darwin Jones, Damion Lowe, Charlie Lyon, Tyrone Mears, Jimmy Ockford, Dylan Remick, Nathan Sturgis and Nelson Valdez. Additionally, defender Zach Scott had previously announced his intention to retire at the conclusion of the 2016 season.

“I want to start by saying thank you to all of the players from our 2016 MLS Cup champions roster. Keeping this team together will be a work in progress, as roster constraints prevent us from retaining all of our deserving players,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “Conversations with several players are ongoing, and we will do our best to build a roster to defend our title next season.”

The 2016 MLS Expansion Draft for Minnesota United FC and Atlanta United FC is taking place tomorrow, December 13. Teams are able to protect 11 players (Generation adidas and Homegrown Players are exempt and automatically protected), with only one player allowed to be drafted from each of 20 existing MLS clubs.

Per Major League Soccer policy, the club has until Thursday, December 15 to re-sign Re-Entry Draft-eligible players that were not selected in the Expansion Draft, including those players whose contracts were not exercised.

Sounders FC captured its first MLS Cup on Saturday evening with a penalty-shootout win over Toronto FC following a scoreless 120 minutes of action. Frei earned the game’s MVP honors after making seven saves, including a leaping effort to deny Jozy Altidore’s header in second-half stoppage time and a crucial stop on Michael Bradley’s attempt in the penalty shootout.

CURRENT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ROSTER

GOALKEEPERS (2): Stefan Frei, Tyler Miller

DEFENDERS (5): Tony Alfaro, Oniel Fisher, Joevin Jones, Chad Marshall, Román Torres

MIDFIELDERS (6): Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez, Aaron Kovar, Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan

FORWARDS (3): Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, Victor Mansaray

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