Seattle Perspective

Sounders FC blog: Ljungberg's departure, return loom

 

The fist-to-the-face fact is the Sounders went undefeated for nine matches once Freddie Ljungberg left the equation.

Ljungberg's final appearance as a Sounder was a 3-1 loss to Los Angeles on July 4. The Sounders were a mess at the time.

The Swedish star was then quarantined. The Sounders said he had an ankle injury, something Ljungberg had not mentioned when talking with media. It took almost a month before Seattle moved its highest-paid player to the Chicago Fire in return for a conditional selection in the 2011 or 2012 SuperDraft. His roster spot was filled with new designated player Alvaro Fernandez.

Ljungberg did not have a no-trade clause, but did have a verbal agreement with general manager Adrian Hanauer and owner Joe Roth that if a move was to be made, they would try to make it mutually beneficial.

Hanauer called Chicago Fire owner Andrew Hauptman, whom Hanauer said he has a "great" relationship with, in early July, shortly after the Los Angeles match. He talked the situation over with Hauptman then things proceeded from there.

"I went to Freddie and said this is a possibility," Hanauer said. "This is something you might want to start thinking about. Then I talked to Freddie's agent. One thing led to another ..."

It was a curious departure for one of the marquee figures of the fresh organization. Ljungberg was part of the flurry of big announcements during the fall preceding the Sounders' move to MLS.

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