TUKWILA – Adam Moffat wasn’t entirely comfortable Monday, his first day of practice as a Sounder.
“It’s freezing, man!” the team’s newest addition said while wrapped in layers.
Moffat was acquired in an unexpected trade with Houston about 90 minute before the deadline Friday for roster changes, a move easily overlooked because it came the same day as Seattle’s top-of-the-table clash with Real Salt Lake.
And, yes, a chillier climate might require some adjustment, but the 27-year-old midfielder couldn’t be joining a hotter team. The Sounders are the first MLS team since 2007 to earn eight victories over nine games.
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“I was shocked at first,” Moffat said of the trade with his unmistakable Scottish accent. “I didn’t see it coming.”
“Then I was told it was Seattle, and it was a good thing — my wife is from the West Coast, the team is doing great. Sometimes you see those trades happen at this point of the season and it’s guys going to a team at the bottom of the table, and it’s tough. I’m coming to a great place. It’s amazing the form the team is in, and I hope to add to that.”
The addition of Moffat is the final move the Sounders can make until the end of the MLS Cup on Dec. 7, a game that has served as the pre-eminent goal for a franchise heavy with expectations.
The cost? Third-year midfielder Servando Carrasco, who had been enjoying his best year in Seattle, and a second-round draft choice.
It was the most significant transaction leaguewide before the roster freeze.
“We hated to lose Servando because he is such a great person, a great kid and a very, very good player,” said coach Sigi Schmid, “but being able to add someone with Adam’s experience at this stage of the season, a guy who has been to the MLS Cup finals, a guy who has a great shot from distance, who competes, who battles, it was something I thought we really couldn’t pass up.”
Moffat is well-traveled in MLS, and it was Schmid who brought him to the league as a late-season signee in 2007 with Columbus. Moffat then earned a starting job at the start of 2008, the year the Crew would go on to win the championship, but suffered a season-ending knee injury after playing just seven games.
A year later, Schmid left Columbus to join the league’s newest franchise, Seattle, which considered picking Moffat in the 2009 expansion draft, opting instead for Crew teammate Brad Evans.
Portland ended up picking Moffat in the 2011 expansion draft and traded him later that season to Houston, where he has started for the Dynamo in the past two MLS Cups.
Four teams in four years might be a worry, but Schmid said Moffat has “a good sense of humor, so getting him adjusted is not an issue.”
That personality was evident Monday.
When a reporter started to ask a question about playing for the Timbers, Moffat interrupted and said, “Who?” with a wide smile.
Asked when his trademark beard will be fully grown in, Moffat said, “What’s today? Monday? Probably Wednesday.”
Opponents won’t be laughing if Moffat’s combination of experience and grit in midfield makes the Sounders even more dangerous. And don’t forget that shot from distance, which isn’t necessarily a strength of Seattle’s.
There are several highlights of “Moffat Rockets” on YouTube.
“If we implement that,” said Evans, “I think we’re coming at everybody from all angles.”
• Sounders FC’s Obafemi Martins was named MLS Player of the Week after recording a goal and assist in the 2-0 victory Friday over Real Salt Lake. “I don’t know about it, but thank you,” the DP forward said. “I appreciate that. … I hope I continue to play well and try to score goals.”
• The Sounders sensation, notably the record-setting support, will be featured on HBO on Tuesday in the latest episode of “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.