When the Sounders informed Ashani Fairclough that he was being waived in the summer of 2013, he was told that it was due to the team needing to free up an international spot on the roster rather than his ability not being up to the MLS standard. Had Sounders FC 2 existed at the time, Fairclough may have been able to stay in Seattle with the Sounders organization.
According to a report from the Wilmington Star News, S2 has traded young striker Qudus Lawal to the Wilmington Hammerheads for Fairclough.
Since joining Wilmington in 2014, Farclough has appeared in 32 USL matches. He has also scored 3 goals, including a 90th minute equalizer against Rochester last month that earned a point for Wilmington. As a regular starter last season, Fairclough helped the Hammerheads post a 1.18 goals against average, which was the 7th best in the league in 2014. Fairclough was also named First-Team All-USL.
Wilmington has struggled a bit defensively in 2015 and Fairclough has missed five of his team's matches, but the Hammerheads have been even worse in the attack, scoring only 9 goals through 12 matches. Only FC Montreal has scored fewer goals this season. S2, meanwhile, clearly needs some help defensively, having conceded 21 goals in 13 games.
The move probably also means more minutes for Lawal, who has scored 2 goals in 217 minutes, spread across 10 appearances in USL. The 19-year-old has started just twice for S2.
While the move is probably welcome news for fans who never wanted to lose Fairclough in the first place, he won't be able to help S2 in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup against Real Salt Lake, as he is cup-tied after playing 120 minutes for Wilmington in the second round of the tournament.
If the report is accurate, it would also be the first trade in the history of S2.
Since the story broke, Qudus Lawal tweeted his goodbyes to the S2 fans:
It's been real and happy to be part of the @SoundersFC2 organization and also thanks to the amazing fans. You guys rock .See you guys soon— Qudus Lawal. (@QudusL) June 15, 2015