Emmanuel Ledesma is a free agent. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

If the Cosmos and North American Soccer League return for 2018, five player won’t be back.

The Cosmos announced Thursday that the contracts of defenders Dejan Jaković and David Ochieng and midfielders Eugene Starikov, Juan Arango and Emmanuel Ledesma had expired. Ledesma was a key performer down the Cosmos’ stretch run to The Championship and final.

“We would like to thank all of the players for being part of the Cosmos family and wish them the best of luck with their next team,” Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover said in a statement.

The Cosmos have offered contract extensions to several players as the team waits for a decision on the NASL’s lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation that was held in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Dec. 15.

Stover would not name the players whose contracts were being extended as their agreements had not been finalized.

“As we await a decision regarding the future of the NASL, we’ve offered contract extensions to several players that will keep them on our payroll, at a minimum, throughout the month of January and possibly for the 2018 season,” he said.

Four Cosmos players and a coach already have moved on.

Head coach Giovanni Savarese has signed with the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer.

Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer joined FC Dallas while defender David Diosa has inked a contract with the Real Monarchs (United Soccer Soccer) and midfielder Irving Herrera has hooked up with FAS in his native El Salvador.

Earlier this week, Argentine forward Pablo Vranjicán signed with Alianza Petrolera F.C., from Colombia’s First Division.