Aaron Long had been on the Sounders’ radar for months, but he’s just now getting his own rave green jersey.
The team signed Long on Friday, after the 21-year-old midfielder was waived by Portland. The Timbers had drafted Long in the second round of this year’s MLS SuperDraft, but he never made an appearance for the team.
Long has spent most of this season on loan, making five appearances with the Sacramento Republic and Orange County Blues, both USL Pro teams.
Before his time with the Timbers’ organization, though, Long had been “in talks” with Seattle. He spent a week training with the Sounders last summer, and attended their pre-draft combine.
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“They said they liked me as a player and then we were going to see what happened,” Long said. “But then I got picked up by Portland, so it kind of fell through.”
Long’s career at UC-Riverside stood out for the Sounders. He started 66 of 71 appearances in four years, scoring 13 goals and recording five assists. His versatility playing multiple positions was also a factor.
It was enough to put Long on the Sounders’ draft board, at least until the Timbers selected him.
“He was a player I always liked,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said.
Schmid’s son, Kyle, is an assistant coach at UC-Riverside, which gave the Sounders insight on what Long could do.
Schmid said Long probably would not see first-team playing time soon.
“I’m a coach who believes I want to see what their natural instincts are,” Schmid said. “Obviously if he would have been here a month ago, things might have been different for him because there were opportunities with the injuries. But as guys are getting healthier, it might be a little bit more difficult.”
• The Sounders announced Wednesday they have waived midfielder Fabio Pereira. Pereira was the 77th and final pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft for Seattle. He played 349 minutes in the MLS Reserve League, starting in two of five appearances. In the third round of the U.S. Open Cup, Pereira played his only first-team minutes this season, logging 27 in the Sounders’ 5-0 win against PSA Elite.
• Rotating in more depth will be a focus for the Sounders. They’ve had several players injured and missing games, but several are set to return to the pitch soon, according to Schmid. Djimi Traore subbed into Saturday’s match against Tottenham Hotspur in the 63rd minute, after missing the previous five games. According to Schmid, Traore’s “confidence is growing,” and he will have more of an impact this week. Dylan Remick, Andy Rose and Leo Gonzalez are also right behind Traore in terms of returning to the pitch after injuries.
• English Premier League fans in Seattle will have more access to games, starting Aug. 16. Three area theaters will begin airing Premier League matches every Saturday at 7 a.m. Century Theatres Federal Way 16, Pacific Place 11 and Thornton Place will be the area cinemas participating. The games to be aired will be announced each Tuesday before the matches. Tickets and more information are available at www.FathomEvents.com