Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Less than 24 hours before the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, the Seattle Sounders completed a deal that will make them a younger team next season as well as move themselves up in the draft.
The Sounders and Fire announced on Wednesday that veteran defenders Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni, as well as the 13th overall pick in the draft would be heading to Chicago in exchange for defender Jalil Anibaba and the eighth overall selection in this year’s draft. Per league policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Adding Jhon, a former Defender of the Year finalist and defensive All-Star, automatically makes our team better,” Fire head coach Frank Yallop said in a statement. “Along with Patrick, we are adding valuable depth on the defensive side. While this trade addresses a key need, we thank Jalil for his time in Chicago and wish him all the best with his new club.”
By parting ways with both Hurtado and Ianni, the Sounders lose two players who have been with the club for since their MLS debut season in 2009. At the same time, the Sounders were able to clear out more than $209,000 in cap space considering what Hurtado, Ianni, and Anibaba made last season.
Last season, Hurtado played in 27 games with 25 starts, though he didn’t score. Ianni made just nine appearances as he struggled to overcome a preseason injury.
The departures of Ianni and Hurtado are the eighth and ninth players to leave the Sounders this offseason, many of them veterans on the wrong side of 30. Michael Gspurning, Eddie Johnson, Adam Moffat, and Mauro Rosales all departed the Sounders this winter.
By moving into the top eight in the MLS SuperDraft, the Sounders have a shot at landing Generation Adidas defenders A.J. Cochran and Eric Miller, according to the latest Mock Draft on SBI.
Meanwhile from the Fire’s point of view, the season-ending loss of Arne Friedrich left a hole in central defense that could not be filled until now. The Fire last season had no problem scoring goals thanks to Mike Magee, but defensively they were suspect, especially in the season finale where they gave up five goals to the New York Red Bulls, knocking the Fire out of the playoffs.
Last year, Anibaba started and played in all 34 games, scoring once and assisting on three others.
What do you think of this trade? Who do you think ends up better off from this deal? Do you expect Hurtado to play up to his previous levels next season? Do you expect the Sounders to draft a defender in the MLS SuperDraft?
Share your thoughts below.