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MLSPA releases free agency list, includes RSL’s Silva, Rusnak

Marcelo Silva is perhaps the most notable entrantinto free agency. Albert Rusnak is there, too.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The Major League Soccer Players Association (say that three times fast!) has released the free agency list for the 2022 season, and three RSL players are present: Marcelo Silva, Donny Toia and Ashtone Morgan.

To be eligible for free agency, a player must have played at least five years in MLS and be at least 24 years old. That, paired with either an out-of-contract status or who are currently on an option year in their contract.

RSL’s trio gives us some insight into contracts at the club. We already know that Damir Kreilach and Justen Glad have signed new contracts, so their absence from the list is not a particular surprise.

  • Nick Besler is apparently under contract for another year, and not just an option year.
  • Albert Rusnak should be eligible, but he’s not listed — he’s been known to have an option year on his contract. His non-presence on this list is an indicator that he might have signed a new contract at the club. We know that he had a desire to stay.
  • EDIT: Who let me write before noon? Albert Rusnak is definitely on the list. He’s out of contract at the end of the year. The situation has absolutely not changed.
  • Justin Meram is on the list as an out-of-contract player — there is no update there. (See the editor’s note below for further detail.)

With Marcelo Silva, Donny Toia and Ashtone Morgan, there are significant question marks about their potential to remain at the club, even though all three are on option years.

  • Silva is a particularly well-paid center back in the league, but he topped out in minutes played in 2021 with just 1,710. At 60 percent of games played, will RSL attempt to bring him back at a lower rate?
  • Toia has played the last three years at the club after making a surprise return — after all, he was RSL’s first homegrown player back in 2011. His usefulness dropped off precipitously under RSL interim coach Pablo Mastroeni, and he struggled under Freddy Juarez at times. Still, in a system that utilizes left backs, he could be a useful squad player.
  • Ashtone Morgan joined in 2020, was a victim of circumstance and ended up not registered for the club after international slots were unavailable owing to COVID-related delays, and has rarely played in 2021. Still, he’s been an interesting player when he’s given the chance to play.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article speculated Justin Meram might be retiring at the end of the season. That speculation was inaccurate.