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Sounders acquire Jimmy Medranda in Handwalla Bwana trade

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Versatile player has battled injuries for much of the past two seasons.

Syndication: Nashville Shelley Mays/The Tennessean, The Tennessean via Imagn Content Services, LLC

UPDATE: Handwalla Bwana’s trade to Nashville SC was made official on Wednesday. The Sounders received Jimmy Medranda, at least $225,000 in General Allocation Money and retained a percentage of any potential transfer fee. There are also escalators that could bring in an additional $25,000 in GAM if Bwana hits certain performance metrics. As part of the deal, Bwana received a longterm extension with Nashville.


It apparently wasn’t under the ideal circumstances, but the Seattle Sounders have arguably bolstered their depth and versatility through a trade with Nashville SC. The Sounders confirmed on Sunday that Handwalla Bwana is being traded to Nashville SC. On Monday, it was confirmed that Jimmy Medranda is the player the Sounders will be receiving in return. The Washington Post’s Steven Goff was first to report the news, and Sounder at Heart’s Niko Moreno later confirmed it. Goff’s report suggested the Sounders might also be receiving some Allocation Money.

Bwana, who has not played in the Sounders’ past nine games, had apparently requested a trade. At that point, Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey started calling around the league with Nashville apparently making the best offer.

“It was a strong opinion from Garth and myself that we would have preferred to keep Bwana here,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer told the media following Sunday’s game. “If a player doesn’t want to be here, we make decisions that are best for the club and player. Any coach will tell you they want to have players who believe and work and fight and play for their positions. He felt there was a logjam with Jordan [Morris] playing in his position. That’s a decision that we made.”

While Bwana is likely the higher upside player, it sounds as if Schmetzer at least has an idea of how he’d like to use Medranda. The Colombian has primarily played left back during his eight MLS seasons, but has played several midfield positions as well. Schmetzer indicated he plans to primarily use Medranda as a wide midfielder.

As recently as 2018, Medranda was considered a solid contributor for a competitive Sporting KC team. From 2016 until a knee injury that cut short his 2018 campaign, started 54 of 73 appearances, logging five goals and four assists. He was also an active defender, averaging better than 2.3 tackles and .9 interceptions per game in each of those three seasons. Broadly speaking his defensive profile is very similar to Nouhou’s, while offering a bit more offensively.

Notably, Medranda has struggled to remain fit since that injury. The 26-year-old only logged 176 minutes last year and has only made one 8-minute appearance this year. He has not played at all since March 8.

Presumably, he’s now at least healthy and could be useful at least until the Sounders are closer to full strength. Unfortunately, it’s not immediately clear how fit he is after not playing for nearly eight months.

This story was updated on Oct. 21 and was first published on Oct. 20.