Garth Lagerwey

Seattle Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey confirms club is "looking at both full Designated Players and Young Designated Players"

TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders GM and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey on Wednesday confirmed the club is actively considering the addition of up to three players in the coming months with its newfound roster flexibility and influx of money via the offseason sale of Obafemi Martins.

The Sounders swapped an undisclosed amount of General Allocation Money to Toronto FC for an undisclosed amount of Targeted Allocation Money and an international roster spot on Tuesday, a sure sign that the club is looking to add at least one player in the near future. The addition of TAM often signifies a club will buy down the contract of an existing Designated Player in order to add another and still be salary-cap compliant, a move the Sounders executed last summer when they bought down midfielder Osvaldo Alonso’s contract in order to add forward Nelson Valdez as a Designated Player. reported on Tuesday that the Sounders are hoping to sign a DP as well as another non-DP player, with both expected to help bolster the team offensively. Lagerwey confirmed the team is considering those options and added that the team is open to signing a Young Designed Player, something the Sounders have yet to do in their MLS franchise history.

Young DPs are under the age of 23 years old and, depending on their age, their salary would hit the cap between 40 and 60 percent of what a traditional DP’s salary would once the player is signed.

“We’re looking at both full DPs and Young DPs, and there are benefits to both,” Lagerwey told “But both have a reduced cap hit. And the significance of that reduced cap hit is that it would allow us to sign multiple players, because of the space we have under the cap and some of the money we’ve acquired in the offseason.”

Lagerwey dismissed the idea that the Sounders are interested in quickly signing an expensive DP to replace Martins, instead insisting that the club is looking to add multiple players with the newfound flexibility afforded Martins move and the deal with Toronto earlier this week.

“The idea is to add more, good players,” Lagerwey said. “With every crisis comes an opportunity. Nobody wanted to lose one of our best players week before the season, but it’s a real opportunity to to re-balance our team and to add to the amount of talent on our team, long-term.”

Lagerwey told media members after the team’s training session that the moves being considered are not reactionary to the club’s early-season results – the Sounders are winless in their first three competitive games of the new year, including a loss in the the MLS season opener Sunday against Sporting Kansas City – and there is no definitive timeline for when the Sounders want to make new signings.

“There’s no reason to be reactive or panicked about who we’re going to add,” he said. “We have a good team.”

There are, however, pros and cons to making moves at different times in the coming months. The primary MLS transfer window closes in mid-May, and a player signed in that window would take twice the hit on the team’s salary cap as a player signed in the summer window.

Lagerwey also added that because of both the Copa America Centenario and the European Championship this summer, some South American and European leagues are ending earlier than usual this year, and players could become available on a free transfer during the MLS’ primary window.

“We need to get collectively better, and a little bit more creative,” Lagerwey said. “We have to have a little more variance in our attack. Clearly [Clint Dempsey] can pop underneath and create as well, but ideally I want to get Clint around the box. He’s a goalscorer.

“So those types of players – the attacking players – that’s where we need to add a little more ability. That way we’re not putting pressure Nelson Valdez, Jordan Morris or Clint Dempsey to replace Oba, like-for-like and goal-for-goal.”

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