First Freddie Ljungberg. Now Alvaro Fernandez. It’s becoming something of a trend for Seattle Sounders Designated Players to move east to join the Chicago Fire.
On Friday afternoon, nearly two years to the day since the Sounders traded Ljungberg to Chicago, the two clubs made a similar deal that sees Uruguayan midfielder Fernandez join the Fire in exchange for an undisclosed amount of allocation money.
“Alvaro is an experienced player that has proven himself as an offensive weapon in MLS,” Fire head coach Frank Klopas said in a statement released by the club. “He is a versatile player and can occupy a number of positions in the midfield. This addition strengthens our squad as we enter the second half of the season.”
WATCH: Fernandez volleys home vs. Red Bulls
The Fire are currently in 5th place in the Eastern Conference. "El Flaco" is expected to join the squad in San Jose on Friday ahead of their match on Saturday.
With Seattle, he made a total of 55 appearances for Seattle since joining the club in July 2010. He scored 13 goals in regular-season league play.
This year, however, he has struggled with his form, and has paid for it with reduced playing time. He has appeared in only 14 of the Sounders’ 20 matches, hitting for two goals and two assists.
Those two goals came in his last two MLS appearances for the club, a draw at New York and a win at home to Colorado. He also had a good outing against Chelsea in last week’s friendly, a 4-2 loss.
In 2011, Fernandez’s first full season with the club, he made 39 appearances across all competitions, notching 11 goals and 5 assists. Probably his most famous goal came in a CONCACAF Champions League match in August, when the Sounders beat defending champions Monterrey, 1-0, only the second time an MLS team had won a meaningful match in Mexico.
Fernandez originally signed with Seattle a few weeks after helping Uruguay to the semifinals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He made four appearances at the tournament.
Reports first surfaced about a move for Fernandez earlier this month. The most credible claimed he would be loaned out to Deportivo Cali in Colombia, but the Sounders denied those reports.
For the Sounders, the move made room on the roster for FC Kaiserslautern midfielder Christian Tiffert, whom the club signed later in the day.