The Seattle Sounders traded their top pick in the MLS SuperDraft to the Chicago Fire for left back Joevin Jones.
And with that move, general manager Garth Lagerwey says he believes the club filled the final major hole in its roster heading into the new season.
“You’ll see us add more bodies in midfield potentially, but I believe we have a potential starting lineup intact,” he said. “But I want to stress that we want competition for positions everywhere all over the field. … But I’ll say this: I think we have some guys with the potential and the capability of starting. … I think we’re pretty much covered on a positional basis all over the field.”
Lagerwey agreed he couldn’t have said that Thursday morning. Left back had been a position of need since the postseason parting of ways with longtime starter Leo Gonzalez. Holdover Dylan Remick failed to gain the club’s confidence as the logical heir, and 2015 draft pick Oniel Fisher is seen as a more natural fit at right back.
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The Sounders moved to fix that by shipping the No. 15 overall pick and allocation money to Chicago for Jones, 24, who started 26 MLS games last season. That followed a five-year career in Trinidad & Tobago and Finland. He also has 37 appearances with the Trinidad & Tobago national team.
“Joevin is a player with speed and versatility that can come in and help our team,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said in a news release. “He played well for Chicago this past season, and we look forward to seeing what he brings.”
The trade left Seattle with two second-round picks. The club used the 27th overall pick to select Cal State Dominguez Hills central defender Tony Alfaro and the 35th to take Duke midfielder Zach Mathers.
“On an organizational basis, we really wanted to get deeper at the center back position, from academy to S2 to first team,” Lagerwey said. “We got a left-footed center back, which is a little bit harder to find, a kid with good feet, good size and real potential. We’ll see how he develops.
“(Mathers is) a very smart soccer player, again a very good technical player who played a little bit father forward in college than we might project him to play … as a pro. So we’ll see how that shakes out, but he’s another guy that we think long term can develop and will definitely get some experience with S2 and hopefully use that as a vehicle to improve.”
The draft began with Chicago’s selection of Wake Forest midfielder Jack Harrison, who was then traded to New York City FC.
With the 12th overall pick, the Fire selected central defender Jonathan Campbell, formerly of the Pierce County-based Sounders U-23. With the 17th pick, FC Dallas selected goalkeeper Ryan Herman out of the University of Washington and Sounders FC Academy.
Overall, 41 selections were made Thursday, representing 29 colleges and 10 nations. The draft will conclude Tuesday when the third and fourth rounds are held by conference call.
The Sounders will open training camp Jan. 22 at Starfire Sports in Tukwila. They will open their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series with Club America of Mexico on Feb. 23. The club will begin its eighth MLS season on March 6 when Sporting Kansas City visits CenturyLink Field.