The Seattle Sounders have traded Eriq Zavaleta to Toronto FC early Monday morning. In the trade, the Sounders received a second-round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Zavaleta spent just over two years in Seattle. He was their first round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft when they selected him 10th overall.
Zavaleta, 22, made five appearances with Seattle as a rookie in 2013 before being loaned to Chivas USA for the 2014 season. The former Indiana University product and 2012 BIG 10 Player of the Year started 15 of 17 appearances for Chivas.
I am personally sad to see Zavaleta leave the team. I was hoping that maybe they could have signed him to an USL-Pro contract in the hopes to develop him more. I know during his season long loan to Chivas, he was used as a center back. I was hoping to see him get one more year with the club, but I understand why the club moved on from Eriq.
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid had this to say:
"“We want to thank Eriq for his service to our club. We wish him the best of luck in Toronto and throughout his career.”"
With his move to Toronto, Zavaleta now gets to play with his uncle. That’s right; Eriq is the nephew of Toronto’s head coach, Greg Vanney.
Toronto general manager Tim Bezbatchenko had this to say about Zavaleta:
"“Adding a player like Eriq gives us another defender with MLS experience. He is a young and versatile player with the ability to both defend and attack.”"
Apparently Toronto is looking to improve a defense that ranked 15th out of 19 clubs last year in goals allowed at 1.59. Earlier Monday, the Reds announced the signing of Polish defender Damien Perquis. Perquis, who played in the Spanish second division with Real Betis, reportedly terminated his contract with the club on Jan. 19 to clear the way for the jump to MLS.
In regards to Perquis, Bezbatchenko said this:
"“Damien’s signing addresses an area we wanted to improve upon this offseason. His experience and leadership both at club and international level will be a welcomed addition to our team. Damien has a great defensive sense and will provide an upside on the ball with his strong distribution from the back. We are very excited to bring him to Toronto FC.”"
Toronto also drafted a bunch of defenders in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. They selected French defender Clement Simonin Canadian defender Skylar Thomas in the first round. Right back Wes Charpie was selected in the second round.
In the past, Toronto has gone with offense to try to win games. Don’t they know the old saying? Offense wins you games but defense wins you championships. It appears they finally have a coach that knows defense is the key to winning.