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Kenny Cooper Fiasco Highlights MLS' Issues and Proves It Won CBA Negotiations

Peter Galindo@@GalindoPWFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2015

Seattle Sounders' Kenny Cooper, right, reacts after his shot on goal went just wide of the post in the second half of an MLS soccer match against Sporting Kansas City, Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Seattle. The Sounders beat Sporting KC 1-0. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The Seattle Sounders waived forward Kenny Cooper on Thursday, per the team's official website. However, the comments from general manager Garth Lagerwey signify that the league is benefiting more from the new CBA and has made little effort to gain transparency.

Cooper attracted interest from the Montreal Impact, according to the official MLS website, but Montreal has not completed a deal. The reasoning behind this could be down to the 30-year-old's hefty salary, per Duane Rollins of Canadian Soccer News:

Duane Rollins @24thminute

Talking to Seattle folks, it seems Cooper was on a guaranteed contract of ~$275,000 and deadline to get cap relief has passed.

The cap number seemingly influenced the Sounders' decision. Lagerwey told reporters "there has not been a market for [Cooper]," per Matt Pentz of The Seattle Times

Lagerwey also said that the lack of suitors was due to teams expecting an increase in cap space after the CBA negotiations last March. As a result, nobody wanted to take a risk in acquiring Cooper.

The former FC Dallas striker is a nine-year MLS veteran and is 30 years old. Under the new CBA regulations, he is eligible for free agency since he has at least eight years of experience in the league and is over 28. However, this is not the case according to what Lagerwey said to the press, via Pentz:

There is no free agency (now). My understanding is that there is some process that may resemble that at some point, but as part of the CBA, we’ve gotten no guidance as to what that process might look like. I honestly wish we could’ve kept him. But long term, we just couldn’t see a way forward with the numbers where he was and where our budget is.
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MLS' lack of transparency is rearing its ugly head once again. Free agency hasn't been implemented and Cooper has to go through waivers in order to find another team. However, he most likely won't be picked up due to his high cap number.

What's worse is that there appears to be some new regulations. According to the MLS roster rules, if a player with a guaranteed contract is waived during the season, the team does not get cap relief.

However, Lagerwey says that the Sounders bought out Cooper, which indicates that his salary is off of Seattle's books. This isn't possible unless the league formulated new roster rules.

If MLS did create new regulations, it hasn't announced the changes. The league is 20 years old and just negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement in early March. There is no plausible reason to hide the rules.

Adam Jardy @AdamJardy

Let's appreciate that we're nearly five weeks into the 2015 #MLS season and still don't have published roster rules.

This proves why the league won the negotiations in the first place. There is still no free agency according to Lagerwey, and MLS still has 2014 roster rules on its Press Box site. In this day and age, this should not be happening.

Peter Galindo covers MLS and U.S. soccer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @GalindoPW.

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