Sounders FC midfielder Erik Friberg is leaving to return to Sweden. But the Sounders added defender Marc Burch, formerly of D.C. United, in the re-entry draft.
Sounders FC lost its ninth player of the offseason Monday, but acquired another in a busy day.
Versatile midfielder Erik Friberg was sold to Swedish club Malmo FF. Defender Marc Burch is the addition, drafted in Stage 2 of the MLS re-entry process.
Friberg’s departure was unexpected. The 25-year-old Swede, who signed with Seattle last December, is starting a family with his girlfriend and hoped to do so closer to home.
“This move enables the couple to be near their families and have the proper support,” said general manager Adrian Hanauer in a news release.
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Friberg started 23 of his 26 MLS games in 2011 and recorded a goal and two assists. He played every midfield position this past season and his likable personality made him an instant fit in the locker room and with fans.
This offseason, the Sounders protected Friberg in the expansion draft and planned to exercise his option for 2012.
Terms of the deal to Malmo FF were not disclosed, per league and club policy. The move will open up an international slot on Seattle’s roster.
“I am very proud to have played for Sounders FC and our tremendous fans,” Friberg wrote on Twitter, adding that he will “always be a (Sounder).”
The loss was tempered by the addition of Burch, who could compete for the starting job at left back after spending the past five seasons with D.C. United.
Seattle had been slated to pick 14th Monday, but moved up to No. 1 in a pre-draft trade with Vancouver in exchange for a third-round choice in 2014. Burch was the clear target.
The 27-year-old started 11 of the 17 league games he played for D.C. in a 2011 season limited by injuries. He made $95,000 last season and still must come to terms with the Sounders, who have seven days to extend an offer.
If a deal isn’t reached, Seattle would retain first right of refusal on the six-year veteran. Burch appears to fill a need after left back Tyson Wahl was traded to expansion Montreal last month.
“He can play the left side, either left back or left midfield, or center back,” coach Sigi Schmid said of Burch in a news release.
Schmid coached Burch in Columbus for parts of the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
This offseason, Seattle already had seen the losses of Kasey Keller (retirement), James Riley (expansion draft), Wahl (trade), Pat Noonan (option declined), Nate Jaqua (option declined), Terry Boss (option declined/retirement), Taylor Graham (option declined/retirement) and Miguel Montano (loan expired).
• Jaqua and Noonan were selected in the re-entry draft Monday. Jaqua, a 30-year-old forward, was selected by New England with the No. 2 overall choice. Noonan, a 31-year-old forward/midfielder, was taken by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the third round. Jaqua and Noonan had each struggled with injuries and poor form the past two seasons in Seattle, combining for just one MLS goal in that span.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com. On Twitter @joshuamayers.