SEATTLE — Osvaldo Alonso has signed a new multi-year contact that elevates him to designated player status with Seattle Sounders FC.
“I have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders now,” the midfielder said through a club press release. “I have to keep going and play my game and play the best for the team. Signing this contract is going to be a good challenge for me.”
Alonso joins Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins as club designated players — those whose salaries are only partially applied to the Major League Soccer salary cap. Mauro Rosales, who was a DP for the past two seasons, could re-sign with Seattle, but not as a designated player because three is the league maximum.
Details of the contract were not provided.
Alonso, 28, defected from Cuba in 2007 and signed with the Sounders before their 2009 expansion season. He is a three-time MLS All-Star, and on Monday he was named Sounders MVP for the fourth consecutive season. In 2013, he led MLS in passing accuracy (88.58).
“Alonso is the model of consistency for us in central midfield,” coach Sigi Schmid said in the release. “His on-field leadership and tenacious play make him one of the top holding midfielders in the league.”
In 2013, Alonso made 26 regular-season starts and played 2,179 minutes. He is the club career leader in games (139), starts (135) and minutes (11,839) and ranks second in shots (180). He is tied for fifth with 12 assists, tied for 10th with six goals, and second with two postseason goals.
“Ozzie is a key building block for our club, and we are happy to sign him to a long-term contract extension,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said.
Rosales signed with Seattle in 2011 and was upgraded to DP status after that season, when he was named MLS newcomer of the year. He is tied with Fredy Montero as Sounders career assists leaders (34).
MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed a franchise agreement with Orlando City Soccer on Tuesday at a community celebration near the site in Orlando, Fla., where a new downtown stadium will be constructed. The team will begin play in 2015.
Orlando City becomes the league’s 21st franchise. It is the second of four franchises that Garber said in August would be added by 2020. New York also is getting a team in 2015.
The new stadium will be accessible by both car and public transportation, with its construction scheduled to begin in spring of 2014. Prior to moving into the new stadium in the summer of 2015, Orlando City will play matches at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.
During the past year, Orlando has hosted several major soccer events, including the USL PRO championship match in September, which drew a USL-record crowd of 20,886 fans to the Citrus Bowl. In addition, Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where Orlando City will play the 2014 USL PRO season, has served as host to MLS preseason training and many elite international clubs.