Sounders Cut Ties With Nkufo, Now What?

Sounders Cut Ties With Nkufo, Now What?

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 16, 2011
  • Blaise Nkufo

Blaise Nkufo and Seattle parted ways yesterday. (Getty Images)

The news came across my inbox shortly before First Kick between the Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy that Seattle had dumped/cut ties/released/whatever one of their Designated Players, Blaise Nkfuo. Instead of discussing it on here right then and there, I waiting for the game to finish and more importantly for today.

Why today? Simple, I really wanted to see what more folks were saying about this news. Basically, nothing is real clear about why the two parted ways. There was some locker room issues perhaps, possibly Nkufo really didn’t want to be in Seattle, or something else. Reports suggest he didn’t seem interested in preseason games and comments he made during that time seem to indicate he was already on the way out.

It is also interesting to look at the fact that this is now the second DP to leave town in a weird fashion in Seattle. Most recall the first ever DP trade last year between Seattle and the Chicago Fire, when the Sounders sent Freddie Ljungberg to the Windy City. Maybe Nkufo wasn’t right for Sigi Schmid’s system or he just didn’t agree with it.

No matter what the “spin” will end up being, Nkufo just wasn’t a good fit for the Sounders and maybe for Major League Soccer.

Was Nkufo a bust? I wouldn’t go that far just yet, considering he really only played a half of a season last year. He did contribute five goals for the Sounders in that time and really did help push the Sounders into the playoffs. But to be fair, he won’t go down as one of the league’s best DPs in the history books.

So where does Seattle go next? Obviously they have a boat load (in MLS-sense) of cap space now off the books. Nkufo was on the cap at $335,000. That is a whole lotta lettuce for any club in MLS to work with. Seattle can address some needs right away or hold on to that space and that open DP slot and grab something great this summer. If I’m them, I put my chips in the DP slot for the summer signing window. A team like that can afford to bring in someone special.

At the end of the day this news shows that the DP deals in this league are extremely tricky. They either pan out very nicely in guys like Juan Pablo Angel or Thierry Henry, or they go south in a hurry.