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Sounders add defender Jonathan Campbell; Tony Alfaro joins Chivas

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Campbell was acquired for a 2020 4th round SuperDraft pick

MLS: Toronto FC at Chicago Fire
Beard game, strong.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

On what is likely the final day of business before club personnel break for the New Year, the Seattle Sounders acquired center back Jonathan Campbell in a trade with the Chicago Fire. The Sounders sent a 2020 fourth-round pick — essentially nothing — to the Fire for their role in facilitating the move.

The Fire had already declined their option on the 25-year-old, who had been eligible for the Re-Entry Draft. He reportedly requested to be removed from the draft in order to ensure that he end up in Seattle. Campbell played for the Sounders U23s in the summer of 2015 before being selected No. 12 overall in 2016 SuperDraft by the Fire, with a pick the Sounders had previously swapped for Joevin Jones. Campbell was a NSCAA All-America and first-team All-ACC at North Carolina, where he was a teammate of Sounders fullback Jordan McCrary.

“Jonathan is a young, talented player who we think can provide some depth for us heading into 2019,” Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a team release. “We are looking forward to bringing him into camp and seeing how he fits into our group.”

Campbell will likely fill the role recently vacated by Tony Alfaro, whose option the Sounders declined. Alfaro officially joined Chivas de Guadalajara on Friday after apparently completing a month-long trial period.

Campbell started his MLS career strong by starting 30 games and logging more than 2,800 minutes his rookie year. He averaged 3.1 interceptions, 1.6 tackles, 4.7 clearances and .9 blocks per 90 minutes while earning an average rating of 6.92 from WhoScored.com. At least statistically, he was effectively Chad Marshall’s equal that year.

But Campbell saw his minutes cut to almost a third his second year and again played just a bit more than 1,000 minutes in 2018. Albeit in about a third as many minutes, Campbell’s per 90 statistics were again roughly on par with Marshall’s last year. Notably, one of his eight starts came against the Sounders, a game the Fire tied 1-1 on the road.

None of that is meant to say that Campbell is anything like a Chad Marshall equivalent, but it does suggest that the Sounders may have picked up a player who was simply undervalued by his team.

In an Instagram post, Campbell also gave every indication this is someplace he wants to be.