The Crew declined the options on Nemanja Vukovic, Olman Vargas, and Cole Grossman today. They were made available in the waiver draft. It's not surprising that Vukovic and Vargas won't be in Black and Gold in 2013. Both played sparingly in the latter half of the season and had clearly fallen out of favor.
Grossman is a different story, he's a young and cheap player with a bit of upside. Normally a team wants to keep a hold of those types of players. He had a good run in the mid summer injury crisis, but was buried on the bench as the team returned to health. It turns out there is more to the story, he wanted out.
It's rare in MLS for a player to grumble publicly, but Grossman had clearly had enough of his time with "a few incompetent people". He got his wish and was going to get in the last word via a Facebook message:
Now that my time with the Crew is officially over, I'd like to thank my teammates, friends, and the fans for making this experience an enjoyable one. I also want to make it explicitly clear that I've been asking for this release for a long, long time. It's a shame that a quality organization can be so negatively impacted by the actions and decisions of a few incompetent people.
It can certainly be frustrating to get a shot and then get see an extended stretch on the bench. The lack of communication seemed to bother Grossman the most. He had told the Dispatch's Adam Jardy last week that the coaching staff didn't communicate expectations very well.
They never told me anything. I never heard a word. I came out after the Houston game because he said I needed to be rested, which is fine, but I didn't hear from him again until our meeting at the end of the season yesterday.
Grossman was obviously not happy at only getting 12 appearances for the club and the confusing nature of his status, but he wasn't the only player to voice his confusion over the staff's communication method. Vukovic also voiced similar concerns:
I have no clue. I talked to him, but I don't agree with him... Every time is different. I don't know.
Grossman, Vukovic, and Vargas are the first wave. The Crew will announce further cuts as the date for the Re-entry Draft in early December draws closer. The team will publicly address the status of veteran players as the Draft approaches. This group includes MLS Cup winning goalkeeper William Hesmer, defender Carlos Mendes, Venezuelan forward Emilio Renteria, and other players who are out of contract or option decisions due.
It will bear watching if other players take a chance to comment on the normally shrouded inner workings of the Crew locker room. While such statements can look like whining or sour grapes, Grossman's statement didn't scare off other interested MLS teams. He was claimed by Real Salt Lake today; the only player drafted.