By JASON MITCHELL
With the MLS regular season winding down, the Seattle Sounders boast the league’s best record, as they have for most of the season. They are in the driver’s seat in the Supporters’ Shield race and a favorite to hoist the MLS Cup trophy.
That did not stop them from squeezing in a last-minute player addition before rosters froze on Monday.
On Friday afternoon the club announced the signing of Onyekachi Apam, a Nigerian center back with 128 appearances in Ligue 1 and 14 caps for the Nigerian national team. Per club and league policy, contract terms were not disclosed.
Apam began his professional career with OCG Nice in 2005, making 105 appearances before transferring to Stade Rennes in 2010. He has struggled with injuries since moving to Rennes, making just 23 appearances in four years.
“Onyekachi brings vast experience from French Lique 1 and the Nigerian national team,” said Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson in a press release. “He is a versatile defender who can play central or wide and has the ability to start our attack from the back as well.”
Signing Apam, 27, potentially fills one of the few needs the Sounders publicly identified heading into the transfer window: central defenders on the right side of 30.
“We do recognize the fact that we’ve got two center backs (Djimi Traore, Zach Scott) who are a little bit above 30 now, and one (Chad Marshall) that’s going to hit 30 this year,” head coach Sigi Schmid told the Seattle Times in June. “We want to make sure that we continue to be prepared for 2015, as well, so if a good center back comes along in the summer window, rather than miss that opportunity and wait for the winter, we might need to grab it now — if it’s the right guy and if it’s a guy who makes sense for us.”
Apam would seem to make sense, at least if healthy. The Sounders will add him to the roster pending receipt of his visa and international transfer certificate.
What do you make of the signing? Think Apam pushes for minutes next to Chad Marshall down the stretch? Could Schmid bring him in as a late substitute at left back for speed down the flank? Believe the Sounders brought him in more for emergency depth and 2015 than this season’s playoffs?
Share your thoughts below.