UPDATE: Bryan Meredith has also indicated on Twitter that he won’t be back. See tweet at the bottom of this post.
I’ll have more from Sounders FC’s end-of-the-year news conference throughout the week, and some of this has been covered before, but I wanted to get some quick news and notes here on the blog:
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— As many of you have surely seen by now, general manager Adrian Hanauer confirmed the team does have an option on Eddie Johnson‘s contract for 2013 and plans on exercising it. Johnson, of course, was an MLS All-Star this past year and scored a franchise record 14 goals in the regular season, so this is no surprise. That option would not make the forward a designated player, Hanauer noted. It has been previously reported, as early as February, that the option price for next year is $150,000.
— Coach Sigi Schmid and his staff have been holding season-ending meetings with players. Hanauer said that involves physical and mental assessments, contract discussions, talks about whether expectations were met, and so on. Official word on departures could come as soon as this week (goalkeeper Andrew Weber, for one, has indicated he won’t be back).
— Hanauer explained that not making the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League, and thus not getting allocation money as a reward, is a budget hit for 2013 and not the following year.
— Asked about cap constrains in general, Hanauer said, “I’m concerned about everything right now, and yes, something’s got to give. Either we need to sell a player and get allocation money, we need to renegotiate contracts, we need to make some trades, we need to have one less DP — something has to give. But again, something usually has to give every year. It’s not as though this is the first time we’ve ever dealt with this. So we’ll figure it out.”
— So might any Sounders go off to Europe, say, for an offseason training stint? You might remember Steve Zakuani and Osvaldo Alonso went to Everton for a bit after the 2010 campaign. “Our season went pretty long,” Schmid said, “so our guys need a little bit of rest. We’ve got to get into it a little bit quicker than some other teams because we’ve got two very important games coming up with Tigres right at the beginning of next season, and Champions League is obviously very important to us. We’ve got to snap to it and be ready to go when we start training. … There might still be one or two who might go, but right now there are no plans.”
— Schmid said a couple players have undergone MRIs, but no offseason surgeries are planned. One concern could be Adam Johansson, who suffered a thumb injury on the controversial handball in the second leg of the Western Conference finals. “I think outside of that everybody is good with their health,” the coach said.
— Will not having an expansion draft this offseason have any impact on the team? “To be honest, it’s probably not a very big factor,” Hanauer said. “It’s just a life that we had gotten used to. Certainly it’s nice from an anxiety standpoint for the club and the players, but in terms of how we plan for the future, probably not very substantive in terms of how we’re going about the offseason.”
— Asked about scouting trips in the next few months, Hanauer simply noted there will be “lots” and on “multiple continents.” Added Schmid: “I was going on vacation in Salzburg and Vienna, but I’ve heard there are a few other cities that might be added to my itinerary, so we’ll see what happens.”
— Bryan Meredith (@bryanmeredith1) November 28, 2012