Seattle Sounders FC got a head start on Thursday’s Major League Soccer SuperDraft, pulling off a major trade Wednesday that also included an exchange of draft picks.
Longtime Sounders central defenders Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni were sent to the Chicago Fire for defender Jalil Anibaba.
“Jalil is a center back who has tremendous upside,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said in a news release. “He has been very durable, and we expect him to contribute right away.”
Anibaba, 25, has started 93 games for Chicago over the past three seasons, including all 34 regular-season matches in 2013, when he recorded one goal and a career-high three assists.
He joined the Fire as the ninth pick in the 2011 SuperDraft after playing at Santa Clara University.
Hurtado, 29, and Ianni, 28, came to Seattle in the 2009 expansion season, and both appeared regularly.
In 2013, Hurtado matched his career high with 27 appearances. He started 103 games as a Sounder. In 2009, he was an MLS All-Star and finalist for defender of the year.
Ianni made 83 career appearances with Seattle, including 68 starts.
“One of the most difficult parts of this job is losing good people,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said in the release. “Jhon and Patrick are both quality individuals who have been with our organization from the beginning. We wish them the best in Chicago.”
As part of the deal, the Sounders moved up five places in the SuperDraft, getting the Fire’s No. 8 selection and a conditional 2015 third-round pick, while sending this season’s No. 13 pick to Chicago.
The SuperDraft begins at 9 a.m. Thursday.
“There’s fewer difference-makers than some years past, but I think you can still find guys,” Sounders assistant coach and scout Kurt Schmid said. “And once you get past the first handful of picks or so, I think there are a lot of solid picks there, and the quality is pretty consistent for a bit.”
D.C. United has the No. 1 pick. Maryland forward Patrick Mullins and California defenders Christian Dean and Steve Birnbaum have been projected in various mock drafts as the top pick.
Mock drafts have indicated Seattle’s interest in Aodhan Quinn, a forward/midfielder from Akron; Tesho Akindele, a forward/midfielder from Colorado School of Mines; Kyle Venter, a defender from New Mexico; Joey Dillon, a defensive midfielder from Georgetown; and Schillo Tshuma, a forward/midfielder from Maryland.
SEATTLE SIGNS BOWEN
Sounders FC announced the signing of forward Tristan Bowen, whose rights were acquired from Chivas USA for midfielder Mauro Rosales in December.
“Tristan is a young player who has good experience in this league,” Sigi Schmid said. “He is very athletic and brings flexibility to our club. Tristan has the ability to play multiple positions.”
Bowen, 22, set career highs with 22 appearances and 15 starts last season. He recorded two goals and two assists. He began his pro career in 2008 as the first player signed from the Los Angeles Galaxy’s youth academy system.