Dreams of left back Brad Smith reuniting with the Sounders this winter were doused Thursday.
AFC Bournemouth announced Smith, 25, accepted a loan agreement for him to play for Sky Bet Championship team Cardiff City. The club sits 12th in the 24-team English Football League.
Smith played for the Sounders under a similar loan, which expired in December 2019, from Bournemouth. Garth Lagerwey, Sounders general manager and president of soccer, said Seattle had no control over Smith’s future and acknowledged the fullback improved his stock after helping the Sounders win another MLS Cup in November.
The EFL regular season concludes in May, while Smith’s loan and contract with Bournemouth ends at the end of the 2019-20 season. The Sounders could try to re-sign Smith this summer if he’s available and interested.
Smith started 26 MLS matches for the Sounders last season, including the four playoff wins. He was third on the roster in MLS regular-season assists at six.
Establishing consistency defensively was an issue for the Sounders last season and remains through the offseason. Nouhou and Joevin Jones are likely replacements for Seattle as starters on the left side, but the club is looking for replacements and depth at center back.
MLS and the Players Association joined in announcing Thursday that the parties agreed to extend the current collective bargaining agreement through Tuesday. The CBA was originally set to expire Friday.
The sides said in a news release they have “engaged in productive discussions and will continue to negotiate a new CBA.”
MLS opened preseason for all of its clubs last week while five, including the Sounders, reported Jan. 11 to prepare for the CONCACAF Champions League in February.
MLS’s 25th season begins Feb. 29. The Sounders have Champions League matches Feb. 20 and 27 and open their defense of the MLS Cup on March 1 at CenturyLink Field.
So long, Cecchini
Union de Santa Fe, a club in Argentina, announced via Twitter on Wednesday they signed Sounders midfielder Emanuel Cecchini to a one-year deal. A photo of Cecchini training in Union’s uniform was also posted.
The 23-year-old Argentine was in Seattle on a loan worth approximately $789,000 from the Spanish Malaga CF’s second-tier team. The Sounders haven’t made a formal announcement and still have Cecchini listed on their training-camp roster.
Cecchini arrived in August and, despite his hefty salary, only appeared in four games with one start, totaling 155 minutes and two shots on goal.
The Sounders completed training camp in Southern California on Wednesday with a win against Loyola Marymount University in a closed-door scrimmage.
The club returned to Seattle and will depart Thursday for Mexico City where it will conclude camp before playing CD Olimpia on Feb. 20 in the first leg of its Round of 16 matchup in the Champions League. That match will be played in Honduras.