UPDATE: The Fire have officially announced the trade. As part of the deal, the teams also swap first round picks in tomorrow’s draft, as the Fire drop form the eighth pick to the thirteenth and the Fire also send Seattle a conditional third round pick in the 2015 SuperDraft.
The Fire could be on the verge of trading right back Jalil Anibaba to the Seattle Sounders FC for center backs Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni, as reported by Fire Confidential’s Guillermo Rivera and Mike Standish of Total-MLS.com. Rivera has reported that it appears that the trade has been completed.
Anibaba, 25, was drafted by the Fire in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft and worked his way into the starting lineup that season. Since then, Anibaba has been a mainstay on the clubs back line, both as a center back and as a right back. In Seattle, Anibaba would likely move back to the center back position, as DeAndre Yedlin has a firm grasp on the right back starting spot for the Sounders. The University of North Carolina product has scored four goals in ninety-six games in his Fire career.
Hurtado, 29, has played in Seattle since being loaned there from Deportivo Cali in 2009. Seattle permanently acquired in the Colombian in 2010. Ianni, 28, was selected in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft by the Houston Dynamo and loaned to the California Victory of the United Soccer Leagues First Division in 2007. The Sounders acquired Ianni before the 2009 season, and he has remained with the team up until this point. Ianni has four goals in 113 MLS appearances, and has scored one goal in twenty-six appearances combined with the United States U-20 and U-23 teams. Ianni has never made an appearance for the primary national team.
Hurtado and Ianni combine for a $340,000 cap hit, according to Total-MLS, and the primary motivation for making this trade on Seattle’s part is their pursuit for former Fire midfielder Marco Pappa and needing to clear cap space before signing him.
For the Fire, the move adds defensive depth. Anibaba’s departure leaves the right back starting job open for Lovel Palmer, acquired from Real Salt Lake, or a center back being moved to the right. Current starting center backs Austin Berry and Bakary Soumare face new competition with the acquisitions of Hurtado and Ianni, and Gonzalo Segares would appear to have the starting left back position locked up. The Fire now have a bit of a logjam at center back, which isn’t the worst problem to have, but another trade could follow to move one of the four.