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Sounders make surprising transfer deadline acquisition

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Calum Mallace arrives in trade with Montreal Impact for the cost of another fourth-round pick.

New York Red Bulls v Montreal Impact Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Sounders weren’t done making moves, after all. Just before the transfer window closed, the Sounders and the Montreal Impact agreed to a trade. The Sounders received midfielder Calum Mallace in exchange for their 2019 fourth round MLS SuperDraft pick.

The 27-year-old has 80 regular season appearances — 51 of them starts — and has played a total of 4,415 minutes in his six-year MLS career. His career best for games and minutes played was in 2015 when he appeared in 26 games and logged 1,808 minutes. In the last two months, he has only seen the field four times and played a total of 164 minutes.

This move should be seen as an attempt to add even more depth to the team that has added to starting caliber players in the last month and is the healthiest they have been all year long. The Sounders’ technical staff compares Mallace’s game to former Sounder Andy Rose.

Sounders Sporting Director Chris Henderson told the media on Thursday that the Sounders have followed Mallace’s career for a long time, all the way back to the 2012 SuperDraft. “[Mallace is] a good central midfielder, I think he has a good range of passing, picking players out short and long.” Henderson also praised Mallace’s experience in MLS, especially in important playoff matches for Montreal.

Even though Mallace had more or less fallen out of favor in Montreal, Henderson said the Sounders’ long-term tracking of the player gives them the confidence in his ability to make the team better. “Bringing Calum in definitely improves our squad, and having a guy with that kind of experience. I think when you follow a guy long enough, you know the things he brings to the team.” Echoing something Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer often says about players, Henderson said Mallace is the type of player that forces his teammates to work harder every day in practice. “I think he fits into that group that I think is the push that we need at the end of the year and hopefully a strong playoff push.”

While most were preoccupied with the Sounders’ pursuit of Derlis Gonzalez or trade for Lamar Neagle, news slipped in on deadline day that the club might be pursuing a trade for Mallace. Even though the club had tracked the player for years, Henderson said the deal happened at the last minute. “We’d been working hard on a bunch of other players, and sometimes the timing is right at the window, sometimes it’s a long process,” Henderson said. “But this one happened pretty quickly.”

Story updated with quotes from Sporting Director Chris Henderson.