In a move that's proven surprising to Sporting KC fans, and many MLS fans around the league, Sporting KC today announced that they had released midfielder Alex Martinez. The Uruguayan midfielder had appeared in 10 MLS games for KC this year and both of the team's US Open Cup games, scoring a goal in KC's 2-0 win over Minnesota United. He'd started three games for KC this season and had played over 400 minutes for the club.
The timing of move on one hand seems odd with KC struggling to find healthy bodies, the club only dressed 16 players this past Friday in Portland. They also have another game this Sunday before the summer transfer window opens on July 8th.
On the other hand MLS waiver rules state that if a player on a semi-guaranteed contract is waived prior to July 1st, that player's salary does not count against the team's salary budget. And while Martinez was one of KC's "off budget" players and didn't count against the cap, the date of the release can't be ignored.
While Martinez's stats don't show too well for him, he continued to get minutes on the field ahead of some of KC's other midfielders, specifically Jimmy Medranda and Victor Munoz.
People have asked whether Martinez took up an international roster spot or not for Sporting. The releases regarding both Martinez's signing and his release make no mention of an international roster spot. And in the past when a player signed, or released has taken an international spot, the releases have said as much.
One has to think that he'll get another opportunity in the league. With another two expansion teams coming next year Martinez has the ability to contribute for someone at this level. But even after looking over possibilities this move still confuses me.