Hours before opening their new MLS season Saturday, Sounders FC announced it had bought out the contract of designated player/midfielder Christian Tiffert.
Tiffert was signed as a designated player on July 27, 2012, after more than 280 appearances in German Bundesliga. He played in 12 MLS games with 11 starts, recording three assists. He contributed another assist in the four playoff games, all of which he started.
General manager Adrian Hanauer and coach Sigi Schmid said the move indicated a need for roster and salary cap space more than dissatisfaction with Tiffert.
“I think anytime you buy out a player, you probably have to admit some sort of flaw in the plan,” Hanauer said. “That said, we also made a strategic change in the way we think about our designated players (in December) when we said we’re going to try to maybe invest a little bit more in one or two.”
More from Hanauer:
On the move: We had some tough decisions to make coming out of last year. We knew it was possible this would be one of them. Christian had started to play a little bit more as a wide midfielder for us. We’ve got Zakuani, Rosales and Mario Martinez playing wide midfield, and we had to make a decision on how much cap space and where we were going to use our designated player money and for which positions. … This was not an issue of Christian not performing or being a good teammate or anything. I read something that he and Sigi had a falling out, which is absolutely categorically untrue. It was just a situational thing with the cap and where we thought we needed to invest big designated player dollars.
On if one DP subtraction indicates a DP addition soon: I would say they’re related but not completely related … because in order to have another designated player we had to move a designated player. But it doesn’t follow that tomorrow morning, necessarily, that we’re going to have an announcement. It’s a fluid and complicated jigsaw puzzle. But obviously from the reports, from what I’ve told you guys, we’re trying to sign a striker. We’re hoping we can get that over the finish line. If we can: fantastic. And I guess if we can’t we’ll go to plan B.
On buying out Christian Tiffert’s contract earlier today: “It’s a situation of we’re still looking to add a player up front. With that situation, we couldn’t carry it with our cap reasons and everything else. We couldn’t carry those amounts of DP’s, so we had to make a decision as to who we were going to carry and who we weren’t. That was the decision.”
On what parting ways with Tiffert had to do with his on-field performance: “No. I thought Christian did well for us, it was just more situational and where we were at cap-wise and we really had to go from three DP’s to two. I know Shalrie [Joseph] is a DP in name, but he’s not a DP in terms of how he hits the cap, and we really needed to go from three DP’s to two. We decided we were going to Mauro [Rosales]. We decided that we needed to add a DP forward, so that takes care of your two DP’s and we had to make a decision.”