The previously rumored trade between the Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire has become official, with a bit of a twist. The Sounders have, indeed, sent Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni to the Chicago Fire in exchange for Jalil Anibaba. Previously unreported, though, is that the Sounders will also move up to the No. 8 pick in Thursday's SuperDraft and a conditional third-round pick in 2014 while sending the Fire the No. 13 pick.
"Jalil is a center back who has tremendous upside," Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said in a team release. "He has been very durable and we expect him to contribute right away."
The 25-year-old Anibaba has appeared in 93 of 96 games over the last three MLS seasons, including all 34 last year. He has extensive experience at both right back and center back.
The move for Anibaba should free up about $200,000 in salary cap space, assuming the MLS Players' Union numbers are accurate. The Sounders are expected to use much of that newfound space on Marco Pappa, whose salary is rumored to be in the $300,000 range. That should still leave room to potentially add Norwegian defender Steffen Hagen, who reports from Norway suggest would command a salary of about $200,000 as well as a transfer fee.
While the trade was likely driven by the desire to free up salary cap space, the ability to move up in the draft doesn't hurt either. As nimajneb illustrated in his story today, the likelihood of a pick panning out drops considerably after No. 10. Based on Jackington's research of various Mock Drafts, the kind of players that would be available to the Sounders at No. 8 include players like Creighton defender Eric Miller, Georgetown center mid Steve Neumann, Coastal Carolina midfielder Pedro Ribeiro and Hartford defender Damion Lowe.
Regardless of what anyone may have thought of Ianni and Hurtado as players, they will be missed. Both players were likable and gregarious in their interactions with fans and were among the remaining handful of players who were on the Sounders roster for the inaugural First Kick.
"One of the most difficult parts of this job is losing good people," Sounders FC Owner and 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."