In exchange for the 25-year-old, Seattle sent an undisclosed amount of general allocation money to Montreal.
The Sounders have acquired midfielder Harry Shipp from the Montreal Impact in exchange for general allocation money, the club announced Thursday afternoon. Per team and league policy, exact terms — i.e., precisely how much money Seattle is sending to Quebec for Shipp’s services — were not disclosed.
Shipp appeared in 27 matches for the Impact during his single season in Montreal, having been traded from his hometown Chicago Fire last February. And though a second move in less than a year may hint that some of the shine has come off the 25-year-old’s stock, it’s not that long ago that Shipp was considered one of the rising young stars in Major League Soccer.
“He had a tough time in Montreal, but we really liked what he did in Chicago,” Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said in a phone interview. “He’s a good soccer player. We want players who are good on the ball. Harry is very good on the ball. … The rarer thing to find is that he’s a very good chance-creator.”
Shipp should be expected to compete for a place in the starting XI from the moment Sounders training camp opens on Jan. 23. His addition also bolsters a midfield corps badly in need of both quality and depth, with veterans Andreas Ivanschitz and Erik Friberg both having had their contract options declined earlier this month.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Seahawks reel in veteran tight end Greg Olsen with one-year, $7 million deal
- UW Huskies mailbag: What will Washington's offense look like in 2020? And who will be its stars?
- Seahawks mock draft roundup: Improving defense continues to be seen as top priority
- Astros' sign-stealing scandal has rocked the game, but it might also be good for it
- State wrestling: It's no secret why Washington's top programs keep winning titles
“He’s more attacking than defensive,” Lagerwey said, adding that Shipp can play both centrally and out wide, and that he is projected to slot in somewhere in the line of three midfielders in Seattle’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
Shipp, a national champion with Notre Dame in 2013, was a finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year a year later, scoring seven goals and adding six assists while appearing in every Fire game but one. Shipp also, memorably, scored twice in Chicago’s 3-2 home loss to the Sounders in June of that year. He again started 33 matches in 2015, tallying three goals and eight assists as a lone bright spot during another losing campaign in Bridgeview.
An offseason coaching change, however, left Shipp surplus to requirements to Veljko Paunovic’s full-scale rebuild. And the midfielder never really settled in with the Impact. As Lagerwey noted, however, his time in Montreal was Shipp’s first extended period away from his home state, let alone his home country.
“We’re hoping that once we get him back in a little bit more familiar surroundings that he’ll start to thrive again,” Lagerwey said.
While it’s difficult to assess the merit of the trade without knowing how much GAM the Sounders parted with — and without knowing how much salary cap room they have in reserve — the acquistion of Shipp does fit with Lagerwey’s overall mandate of freshening up the roster with younger legs.
Priority one of Seattle’s offseason was to diversify its attack. Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris combined for all but two of the Sounders’ playoff goals en route to their first MLS Cup title — and Nelson Valdez, who scored the other pair, had his contract option declined two days after the title game.
“When things like that happen, you need to be a little bit more varied in our attack,” Lagerwey said. “We think Shipp can be goal-dangerous.
“We’re excited about this one.”
Even without knowing the exact price tag, the addition of a still-promising prospect and potential immediate difference-maker is an encouraging start to the beginning of Seattle’s truncated offseason.
Also of note: Lagerwey said the Sounders have an another acquisition lined up, which could be announced as early as tomorrow.