We chose Ian Christianson with our pick to provide cover for Dax McCarty. We had four defensive midfielders (Tainio, Palsson, Marquez, McCarty) last year, three of whom are gone now. That's a decent pick up but doesn't help are gaping holes in the wide parts of the field. We only have Lloyd Sam coming off an injury as a winger.
Of course this is assuming we play a 4-4-2 with natural wide midfielders. Clearly there are a lot of roster changes to take place between now and the first kick-off, but at this point we have 3.5 (Josue Martinez is a half) MLS veteran forwards. We have two good attacking midfielders in Juninho and Tim Cahill. Dax has shown a great ability to sweep up in front of the back four. It looks like we might play some more interesting formations. If we play something with wide forwards and a midfield triangle under (probably) Sousa, we won't need to pick up that many more options for the outside.
We have 9 spots left on our roster, 8 if we sign Christianson, but we probably won't use all of them (we used 27 last year, I think). In order to avoid a fine from the league, we need 18 senior players on our roster. Homegrown players, GA players, and players on developmental contracts (most rookie deals) don't count in this number, but Connor Lade and Ryan Meara's new contracts could qualify them for senior slots. If Lade and Meara are on contracts of at least $44,000, then the team has 19 senior players and 2 off-budget players (which avoids the fine). If we leave two off-budget slots open we can collect $35,000 allocation money for each, as we did last year.
We could see another slew of mediocre players under 25 sign for between $33,750 and $44,000 as we did last year. Or we could see the team sell Roy Miller (with Pearce and Lade at left back) to make room for midfield help on senior contracts.
But keep in mind that all the roster rules are from 2012 and could change dramatically by the time the 2013 season starts.