The Sounders acquired goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland from the Chicago Fire for Seattle’s first-round selection (26th overall) in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, the club announced Tuesday.
Seattle also will receive Chicago’s second-round pick (35th overall) in the January draft.
The move helps the Sounders make up for the loss of keeper Bryan Meredith in the league’s expansion draft last week. Meredith, who was selected by Inter Miami FC with the ninth overall pick, marked the second time the Sounders lost a goalkeeper in the past three seasons to the expansion draft.
Seattle will still be led by starting keeper Stefan Frei in goal. He didn’t miss a start, finishing with 116 saves and 10 shutouts during the regular season.
The club also has homegrown keeper Trey Muse, who was signed in January. The 20-year-old hasn’t made an appearance with the first team.
“I’ve got to stop talking about Tom Dutra being such a good goalkeeper coach, because (teams) are taking all of our goalies,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said recently. “For Trey, I know he’s going to develop. But the kid’s still young. We can’t push Trey too much into the spotlight when he’s not ready. Once he’s ready, he’s going to get his chance. That’s the way Tommy is, he’s fair.”
Cleveland, 25, is expected to back up Frei while the Sounders develop Muse.
The native Ohioan was originally selected by Chicago with the 26th overall pick in the 2017 SuperDraft. He started all five of his MLS games and 22 of his USL League One appearances. Cleveland also made a start in the Lansing Ignite FC in 2019.
The Sounders, who won the league championship this month, have 18 players from the title team under contract for the upcoming season.
Garth Lagerwey, the club’s general manager and president of soccer, said he’s looking for depth in pursuit of Seattle’s – and the league’s – first CONCACAF Champions League title.