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Fire and Sounders swap draft picks and more in three-player deal

Seattle Sounders FC defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (34)

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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.


  1. “The departures” are NOT “the eighth and ninth players to leave the Sounders”.

    And “Friedrich left a whole”? A whole what? A whole… potato? A whole… lot of fun?

  2. I think this is a good move for both teams. Seattle has quite a few CBs on the roster and JKH and Ianni were taking up a lot of cap room. I think both of them will do well for Chicago while Seattle get’s young, cheaper depth at CB while being able to move up in the draft.

  3. I’m not a Sounders fan, but when I look at all the various moves they have made, I don’t see them as having improved any. I think the best thing they have done so far is getting rid of Gspurning, who really embarrassed himself late in the season.

    • I am, and I agree. I figured after the signing of Dempsey, any & all moves in the offseason would be to pay for him. I figured either Rosales or EJ would go & both did. And they’d have to find more ways to save some cash. I didn’t expect any more “improvement” through new pickups. It’d have to come from coaching & tactics.

      The spine of Alonso, Dempsey, and Martins is good enough to take them far. Especially with quality like Neagle, Evans & Yedlin with them. So it comes down to the coach to get them to play well. People were calling for an end to the Sigi era at the end of last season. With that lineup, if they don’t make it to the Finals, then it may just be Sigi’s last year in Seattle.

      I’m curious to see what the team will look like in a World Cup year. Here’s hoping we hit our high expectations!

      • Seattle is really going out of its way to get bad. They are getting rid of the bulk of their players that made them great at one point. Montero, Rosales, Johnson, Burch, Hurtado, Martinez…What are you thinking Seattle? They have downgraded at every position, except for Chad Marshall but it’s debatable whether he is really that much better than Hurtado. Even keeping Schmid was a downgrade. Haven’t seen them get rid of Shalrie yet. Maybe he will be starting for them at forward again to begin the season, just like they finished. Sure hope Seattle fans are ready for their descent to the bottom of the league. At least they still have Alonso. Maybe they’ll salvage their season if they move their worst player, Evans, to fullback and put their best wing player, Yedlin, at right midfield.

      • Honestly? [Seattle] “are getting rid of the bulk of their players that made them great ” and you put in Burch?

        ….[face palm]

      • There have been attitude issues and locker room issues for a while. We had 6 loses, 3 ties and 1 win. Something had to be done. -10 GD. This team imploded on itself. Had to be done. So moves may be lateral, they hopefully will be better from a team aspect

  4. Ianni barely played last year for a variety of reasons (mainly health) and Hurtado has been declining rapidly the last couple of years. Seattle managed to dump salary and get a younger but inconsistent player who should be no more than a 3rd or 4th CB for them and move up in the draft. Well done by them. If Hurtado can rekindle old form Fire will be happy with this, otherwise I do not see a scenario where that fanbase looks back on this trade fondly.

  5. As a Fire season ticket holder, I am happy to get some depth on the back line. Anibaba was the 4th centerback when last year started and only had minutes because we had no one at RB. While there may be some upside to him, I never really saw him improve and you will have to get used to his stutter step mini-run when he tries to cross the ball into the box.

    Besides up to this point the biggest news the Fire were making revolved around home grown players and a NASL ‘keeper. so I am thrilled that they are doing something.


  6. Huh. Unless you’re getting JKH from 2009, this seems like a swindle. You can argue that SS gets the best player with the biggest upside, saves $200g and moves up in the draft. The times I saw JKH last season, he looked like a shell of his former self. Maybe he had a better year than I thought he did?

  7. Stupid trade by Fire. I was hoping that with the new regime the Fire would stop taking on bad contracts of old or overpaid players. Not only did they not stop…they even got suckered into trading draft spots. Isn’t this like the fourth time Seattle had fleeced the Fire?

    • I suspect Seattle would have dumped these salaries even without the exchange of draft picks. Seattle fleeced the Fire, as always.

    • Is it really that bad? Reading from the Chicago site, it seems like they’re getting 2 experienced players, and only dropping 5 spots in the draft for Anibaba.

      The Sounders needed cheaper players for cap room, and the Fire’s back 4 got stronger. But I’m not familiar with Anibaba & his salary.

      • Most of us like it up in Seattle. We get rid of one frustrating player and a good guy who wasn’t able to crack the starting line-up for a younger kid for less money, PLUS move up to an impact pick. We get rid of 210k in salary. We were looking to dump them as I think we were looking to go CB in the draft so it is a bonus if we can get younger and make move for the Pappa move.

      • Yes it’s that bad, is rather have Anibaba at CB then HURTado, Soumadre, or Ianni. I just wouldn’t want him at RB. I defiantly wouldn’t trade him straight up for any of those players. If I’m the Fire MAYBE I do HURTado AND Seattles #1 pick in th draft.
        Taking on older players with more salary AND trading spots is plain STUPID.
        The fire just got older and more expensive and not much more talented.

  8. Meanwhile from the Fire’s point of view, the season-ending loss of Arne Friedrich left a whole in central defense that could not be filled until now.

    Whole? Not a part, but the whole?

  9. Anibaba: Good ridence. Hope the Sounders enjoy him ball-watching and losing sight of his man who subsequently receives the through ball that leads to a goal. That exact scenario happened many times at the Fire. I guess Yallop has been watching the game tapes.


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