It was expected that the Sounders FC would lose two players in the 2010 Expansion Draft when the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps started building their inaugural rosters.
On Wednesday, that projection came through when the Vancouver Whitecaps selected midfielders Sanna Nyassi in the first round and Nathan Sturgis in the third round.
“It’s disappointing, but we knew we would be disappointed,” Sounders FC owner/GM Adrian Hanauer said. “We’re not particularly surprised, though we were hoping that we would sneak through and have no players picked or only one player picked.”
Nyassi had two goals and three assists in 24 matches in 2010, 14 of which were starts. However, he also added two goals in the US Open Cup championship win over the Columbus Crew and another goal in a friendly against CD Guadalajara, giving him five goals in a four-game stretch.
Nyassi came to the Sounders in 2008, signing with the MLS club, then going on loan to the USL Sounders. In 2009, he played 14 matches, starting two. He was the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month in April for his work with the Nothing But Nets program, raising funds to prevent malaria from spreading in Africa.
In January, he made his international debut for Gambia.
“Sanna has been with us for quite a while. He’s a great young man who has a great future. He goes back to the USL for us and that makes losing him a little harder for us,” Hanauer said.
He battled injuries himself in 2009 and when he came into the 2010 season healthy established himself as a solid starter alongside Osvaldo Alonso in Seattle’s midfield.
Sturgis made 27 appearances for the US U20 National Team from 2004-2007.
“It’s a good opportunity for them. It’s a nice city with good people and a good organization. We can hold our heads up high that both will be in a good situation,” Hanauer said. “We try to make sure our players will be in the best situation. Our hope is that will be with our team, but if they are going to be somewhere else we’d like it to be a good situation for them and we feel that is the case with Vancouver.”
This is the third player the Sounders FC has lost in the expansion draft. In 2009, the Philadelphia Union selected Sebastien Le Toux.
The 2010 Expansion Draft
Dax McCarty - FC Dallas
Eric Brunner - Columbus Crew
Adam Moffat - Columbus Crew
Anthony Wallace - Colorado Rapids
David Horst - Real Salt Lake
Robbie Findley - Real Salt Lake
Peter Lowry - Chicago Fire
Jonathan Bornstein - Chivas USA
Jordan Gray - DC United
Arturo Alvarez - San Jose Earthquakes
Sanna Nyassi - Seattle Sounders FC
Atiba Harris - FC Dallas
Nathan Sturgis - Seattle Sounders FC
Shea Salinas - Philadelphia Union
Alan Gordon - Chivas USA
O’Brian White - Toronto FC
Alejandro Moreno - Philadelphia Union
Joe Cannon - San Jose Earthquakes
Jonathan Leathers - Sporting KC
John Thorrington - Chicago Fire