One of the heroes of the Sounders FC’s 2009 US Open Cup championship will now be playing for the club Seattle topped to win their first cup in club history.
The Sounders FC announced Friday that they traded midfielder Stephen King to D.C. United in exchange for a second round pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
Caught in a logjam at central midfield, King could not find the field after playing in a reserve role behind the likes of Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Peter Vagenas and Nathan Sturgis through the first six games of the regular season.
“Stephen is a great kid. I really didn’t see him ahead of some of the other guys we had in the middle of the midfield for us,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We are a club that wants to be the best we can be and we are certainly going to continue to build our squad always. But we also want to be a club that has heart and has feeling and that cares about people. I think for Stephen, hopefully he will do well there and obviously we are going to miss him.”
Now in his third MLS season and second with Sounders FC, King made 10 appearances, including three starts, in 2009. He also started five U.S. Open Cup matches, scoring three goals—two game-winners—and adding one assist.
A young player at just 24 years old, King will likely have a greater opportunity for playing time on a team with a need on the offensive side of the ball. DC United started the year at 0-4-0 with just two goals in their first four games. For the Sounders, though, it clears up a roster spot that the team will need in coming weeks and months as forward Nate Jaqua recovers from surgery on his lower abdomen and 2009 second round SuperDraft pick Michael Seamon prepares to join the team after completing his college degree at Villanova University. Additionally, Swiss international Blaise Nkufo is slated to join the team in July.
“It’s much better to make the move and get something in return than to just put someone on waivers and get nothing for it,” Sounders FC technical director Chris Hnederson said. “With Jaqua coming back and Seamon coming in and Nkufo, we would have had to make some moves. The timing was right, we’re happy with it and we’re happy for Stephen too.”
King, 24, made eight starts and a total of 20 appearances for the Chicago Fire as a rookie in 2008. He was chosen by Seattle in the 2008 expansion draft.
“You want to see good people move on and do well – not against us – but move on and do well in other circumstances,” Schmid quipped.
The Sounders FC will face DC United at Qwest Field on June 10 and at RFK Stadium July 15.