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Freddie Ljungberg Traded, Seattle Sounders To Face San Jose

Bill HareCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2010

CARSON, CA - JULY 04:  Freddie Ljungberg #10 of the Seattle Sounders FC kicks the ball against the Los Angeles Galaxy on July 4, 2010 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
Jeff Golden/Getty Images

The news has been swirling for weeks about Freddie Ljungberg and now, there is solid information to report concerning his status.

Seattle Sounders FC announced Friday that the Swedish international star has been traded to the Chicago Fire in exchange for a selection in the 2011 or 2012 Super Draft.

Ljungberg, 33, a two time MLS All-Star selection for the Sounders, led Seattle and finished fourth in in the league with nine assists in 2009. He was named the MLS October Player of the Month after assisting on the team's final four goals of the regular season, helping the Sounders reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in the club's inaugural season.

Ljungberg was also a finalist for MLS Newcomer of the Year.

"Freddie is a tremendous individual and an exceptional player who contributed greatly to the huge success of Sounders FC, both on and off the field, in the past year and a half," said Adrian Hanauer, general manager.

"Freddie, along with Kasey Keller, gave this club immediate stature in the world's game, and we are grateful for his service. We wish him all the best in Chicago."

"I want to start off by saying how proud I am to have been part of the most successful new franchise in MLS history, the Seattle Sounders FC. I didn't know exactly what to expect when I first came to Seattle but I have to say that how the city and the fans have embraced me has gone beyond my wildest dreams and for that I am forever grateful. I also want to thank my teammates who are absolutely great on and off the pitch. I have made some very close friends who I know I will be in contact with forever," said Ljungberg.

Ljungberg was signed as Seattle's first Designated Player on October 28, 2008. He came to Seattle after 10 seasons in the English Premier League. In his nine years with Arsenal, he was a member of teams that won two EPL titles, three FA Cups and a UEFA Champions League final appearance.  Ljungberg was recently selected in an Internet poll as one of the most popular players in Arsenal’s celebrated history.

This season, Ljungberg played in each of the first 15 Sounders games while starting 14 and contributing three assists. Altogether, over the two seasons with Seattle, he played in 37 matches, starting 35, scoring two goals and adding 12 assists.

In a related move that comes as anything but a surprise, the Sounders have added midfielder Alvaro Fernandez, 24, to the active roster. Fernandez, a member of the Uruguay National Team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was acquired on Thursday and has received his International Transfer Certificate.

This makes Fernandez eligible to play Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes in a clash that was already replete with many interesting dimensions.  The Sounders will enter play at Buck Shaw Stadium in the San Jose suburb of Santa Clara for the 7 p.m. PDT match just one point behind the host Earthquakes. 

While Seattle stands at 6-8-4 with 22 points, the host team coached by Frank Yallop and led by former U.S. World Cup player Bobby Convey has a 6-4-5 mark and 23 points.

Saturday's Bay Area match affords an opportunity for Seattle to jump from sixth to fourth in the Western Conference. San Jose enters the week tied for the fourth and final playoff slot. The Quakes have been idle since drawing, 2-2, at Los Angeles July 22. They are undefeated in four games with a 1-0-3 mark since June 5.

The teams are even in the overall series at 2-2.  In their last meeting at Qwest Field May 22, San Jose won a tough defensive battle 1-0.

Following the San Jose match the Sounders are off for El Salvador.  On Tuesday Champions League play resumes as Metapán and Seattle vie for a spot in the group stage. Sounders FC defeated Metapán 1-0 in the first leg at home behind a 40-yard blast from Fredy Montero just seconds after entering the game as a reserve.

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