Anibaba traded to Seattle for Hurtado, Ianni

Centerback has suddenly become a position of strength.

The Fire needed to bolster the back line and it would appear that additional depth has been added to the middle of the defense with a trade that sends right back Jalil Anibaba to the Seattle Sounders in exchange for centerbacks Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Patrick Ianni. The move also involves a swap of draft positions this year and the Fire's third round selection in 2015. The pick in 2015 is conditional. Chicago will now assume Seattle's 13th pick in the Superdraft and Seattle will select 8th.

Hurtado has been a regular in Seattle's line-up since coming to MLS in 2009. He was a finalist for Defender of the Year in his first season but missed most of 2010 with a torn ACL in his left knee. He started 25 games for Seattle last season and is considered an excellent man marker although he has been dogged by inconsistent play over the last two years. A native of Colombia, he has received a US green card and will not occupy an international roster spot.

Ianni has been a part-time starter over eight seasons with Houston and Seattle. He appeared in only nine games in 2013, starting seven after breaking his foot in preseason. His best season came in 201o when he started 24 matches.

Anibaba, a natural centerback has been up and down at right back since being drafted 9th overall by the Fire in 2011. The trade likely opens up the right back position for recently acquired Lovel Palmer but the Fire still have little depth on the outside. Steven Kinney and Hunter Jumper are currently the only reserve outside backs behind apparent starters Palmer and Gonzalo Segares and both of those players have seen more time at centerback over the last year.

The Fire is now crowded in the middle with Hurtado, Ianni, Bakary Soumare, and Austin Berry all on the roster. Another issue is the amount of budget space now tied up in that position. Anibaba's guaranteed salary for 2013 is listed at $131,245.00 while Hurtado and Ianni made $190,000.00 and $150,000.00 respectively. Combined with Soumare's salary ($200K of which the Fire are responsible for this season) and Berry ($78,425.00) it would seem that they're top heavy at the position.

How much of Hurtado's salary will count against the cap/budget is unknown since Seattle apparently used the "retention funds" mechanism to sign him to a new deal last offseason.

Could another move be in the making?

Filed under: 2014 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • Hurtado has been on the decline for years, Ianni is a backup in MLS and Anibaba is a good CB played out of position. Chicago got taken in this trade before we count the cap difference. Hurtado, besides being injury prone and slowed by injuries, is as prone to mistakes as Soumare, who I assume will be traded if someone will take his salary.

  • Now we have four CBs and no RB...

  • So... Apparently we are a weigh station for Seattle rejects on heir way out of the league. ...and they wanted to know why I didn't renew. I had faint hopes that this new regime would bring about some real change but it seems it is the same business as usual.

  • I think this will prove to be a mistake. Unless the Fire find some way to unload Soumare and sign/draft a RB, this trade is net loser for the Fire. Anibaba has proven to be a tough, strong player that can be relied upon for a lot of minutes. That is a huge issue with these two knuckleheads coming from Seattle. I think the rule should be: No Trades with Seattle.

  • Maybe I'm crazy or blind, but in my opinion the biggest threat we lost was Anibaba's long throw.

    No matter how much you like the guy, he was a pretty lousy right back (couldn't cross or defend), and wasn't a great centerback. Yeah, he played a lot of games and yeah he scored a couple decent goals, but he was never the answer at right back. I honestly would not be surprised if Palmer is as adequate as Anibaba.

    There are some substantially good things this trade gives the Fire, mostly a way around playing that overpaid Muppet, Soumare. Also some solid backups at centerback, as opposed to Kinney. Maybe Jumper doesn't get a chance to show what he can do, but I still feel much more secure with Ianni backing us up than Jumper.

    The cap issue is a bit worrying, but if there is a higher power, that means Soumare is packing his bags. Also the draft change might come back to bite us, but hopefully we'll still land Miller, Franco or Sweat to provide some fullback depth.

  • I like this trade. Anibaba has a lot to learn about basic defensive principles. His occasions of ball-watching while an unmarked striker blasts the ball into the net were maddening. Defense was a very weak spot for the Fire last year, so Hurtado already makes the Fire better on defense. Ianni improves the team's depth.

    And I am hopeful that this trade is a catalyst for getting Soumare out of town. He was a desperation signing when it became clear that Friedrich was not coming back. At the very least, Hurtado's presence creates a training-camp competition at center back.

    GR, are the Union going to pay any portion of Soumare's contract this season? If so, then trading him becomes easier.

  • In reply to StaryByk3:

    The Union are paying $150k of Soumare's $350K deal in 2014. The Fire have an option on him for 2015.

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