With the Union having finished their season, sporting director Earnie Stewart is already planning for the franchise's eighth.
Normally with Major League Soccer teams, there is a considerable amount of offseason change and the Union should be no different. A big question is whether all-star goalkeeper Andre Blake will be part of the future.
In his first season as a full-time starter and his third overall with the team, Blake was a big reason the Union earned their first playoff berth since their second season in 2011. But Blake, who turns 26 on Nov. 21, could have international teams calling the Union about his services.
At an end-of-the-season news conference Wednesday that included coach Jim Curtin, Stewart did not shy away from the issue. As far as Blake is concerned, anything is on the table.
Stewart said that no team had called seeking a deal for Blake. He also understands that the phone could ring.
"Would it surprise me if somebody would call and want to buy him? No, it wouldn't surprise me," Stewart said. "It hasn't happened up to now, and if it does happen at one point, you have to look at it from the perspective of what does it do in the short term and what does it do long-term for the club."
Blake will see the expiration of his Generation Adidas contract, which was not charged to the Union's salary budget. His guaranteed earnings in 2016 were $138,000.
"I understand he comes off Generation Adidas and hits our books and we are very comfortable with him being there," Stewart said. "Do we want to keep our best players here? Yes, for sure, but if we can go forward in selling somebody and becoming better for the future, you have to look at that, too."
Stewart praised the work of Curtin. The Union went 11-14-9 and earned the sixth and final playoff spot but finished the year 0-6-2, including a 3-1 postseason loss at Toronto.
The team will not announce an expected return date for Maurice Edu, who missed the entire season with a stress fracture in his left leg and then suffered a broken left fibula on Oct. 22, the day before he was scheduled to start in the regular-season finale. Stewart said that setting a date would put more pressure on Edu.
Stewart said that two players on loan, keeper Matt Jones and defender Anderson, will not have their options picked up. Neither will midfielder Walter Restropo and rookies Taylor Washington and Cole Missimo. Kevin Kratz, who was picked up late in the season on loan, will have his rights sent to expansion Atlanta United. Stewart added that the team will have discussions with forward Charlie Davies and midfielder Leo Fernandes, whose contracts have run out.