Erik Friberg appears to be going back to Sweden and to his former club, according to reports out of his native country. The 30-year-old midfielder is apparently set to a sign a four-year deal with BK Hacken, where he spent parts of four seasons before his first stint with the Sounders. The deal is expected to be formally announced sometime in the next few days.
That Friberg is likely going back to Sweden shouldn’t come as a huge shock. Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey didn’t sound very optimistic about bringing back Friberg after the team declined to exercise the player’s option.
Even if Friberg had decided to return — likely at a significantly reduced salary — he’d have been facing an uncertain future. Although he’d played a significant part in the Sounders’ late-season run, including starting 5 of 6 playoff games, the acquisition of Harry Shipp likely pushed Friberg down the depth chart. As handy as having a versatile midfielder who seemed to add significantly to the locker room, the Sounders likely believed they could upgrade from a player who had just one goal and four assists in more than 3,000 minutes over parts of two seasons.