Major League Soccer's rules make acquiring a third designated player an intricate process, particularly when you're not sure you want to keep one of your other two. Sounder at Heart's Jeremiah Oshan explains:
The most basic facts are these:
- Alvaro Fernandez is currently classified as the Sounders' third designated player, but he's not actually on the roster. If he moves to the active roster before Freddie Ljungberg is moved, it would trigger a one-time payment to the league of $250,000 that would be distributed to all the teams without three DPs (and right now that means it will be divvied up among the 15 other teams).
- The payment is a one-time fee and is not refundable even if Ljungberg is moved, but would not have to be paid again if the team ever went back to three designated players.
- Fernandez's status as a DP was almost automatic because the transfer fee that needed to be paid was included in his cap hit (no word on how much money changed hands) along with his salary.
- The only things keeping Fernandez off the roster right now appears to be receiving his International Transfer Certificate. Once that comes, some kind of move will have to be made to make room for Fernandez.
- With Jhon Kennedy Hurtado on the Injured Reserve, there is an open international roster slot so the move just has to create space on the 24-man roster.
- There was no indication that a Ljungberg move was imminent.
Jeremiah also talked to various Sounders personnel and got the feeling the team's summer dealings were not finished. You can read those thoughts in Explaining the Sounders Signing of Alvaro Fernandez.