Claudio Lopez will be returning to KC next year, but he'll be doing so without the high price tag. Ives Galarcep over at ESPN Soccernet is reporting that the Wizards have signed Lopez to a new contract that is "considerably less than the $800,000 in guaranteed salary he earned as a Designated Player in 2008".
On his blog, Ives has added onto this story by saying that Lopez salary cap hit next year could be as low as half of this past years $400,000 cap hit. Whether his actually salary is that low, or the Wizards are using allocation money to pay it down (similar to what Columbus had been doing with Guillermo Barros Schelotto) remains to be seen.
This is good news on a couple fronts, as it not only gives the Wizards their designated player slot back to use on another player if they want, but it also gives the Wizards cap room to play with, as well as keeps a locker room leader around next year. Last year Lopez scored 6 goals and had 7 assists in MLS play, including a goal and 2 assists in the Wizards dramatic 3-2 win over San Jose late in the season that basically assured the Wizards of a playoff birth.