Sounders FC and designated player Blaise Nkufo have parted ways, in what is being called a mutual agreement to end the Swiss forward's association with the club.
The Sounders’ announcement came little more than an hour before their MLS-opening game against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Tuesday night at Qwest Field.
Nkufo, 35, joined the club in the middle of last season after playing for the Switzerland national team in the World Cup.
He played in 11 MLS games and scored five goals, including the only hat trick in Sounders’ history Sept. 18 at Columbus. He came to Seattle after seven seasons and 260 appearances with FC Twente of Holland’s first division. A statue in his honor stands on Twente’s stadium grounds.
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However, Nkufo never seemed to become fully meshed into the Sounders’ system, and he was left unprotected – and went unclaimed – in the offseason expansion draft.
A club press release says details of Nkufo’s departure are being negotiated by Sounders FC, the player’s representative and Major League Soccer. Nkufo joins Freddie Ljungberg as international designated players who have signed and departed the Sounders. The club now has two designated players: Alvaro Fernandez and Fredy Montero.
“This improves our flexibility with regard to the salary cap,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said in the release.