Ljungberg Traded to Chicago Fire Image

Newly-signed Alvaro Fernandez added to Sounders FC active roster

RENTON, WASH.Freddie Ljungberg, an MLS Best XI selection and two-time All-Star midfielder for the Seattle Sounders FC, has been traded to the Chicago Fire today in exchange for a conditional selection in the 2011 or 2012 SuperDraft.

Ljungberg, 33, led Seattle and finished fourth in MLS with nine assists in 2009. He was named the MLS October Player of the Month after assisting on the team’s final four goals of the regular season, helping the Sounders FC reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in the club’s inaugural season. Ljungberg was also a finalist for MLS Newcomer of the Year.

“Freddie is a tremendous individual and an exceptional player who contributed greatly to the huge success of Sounders FC, both on and off the field, in the past year and a half,” said Adrian Hanauer, general manager. “Freddie, along with Kasey Keller, gave this club immediate stature in the world’s game, and we are grateful for his service. We wish him all the best in Chicago.”

Said Ljungberg: “I want to start off by saying how proud I am to have been part of the most successful new franchise in MLS history, the Seattle Sounders FC. I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I first came to Seattle but I have to say that how the city and the fans have embraced me has gone beyond my wildest dreams and for that I am forever grateful. I also want to thank my teammates who are absolutely great on and off the pitch. I have made some very close friends who I know I will be in contact with forever.”

In a related move, Sounders FC has added midfielder Alvaro Fernandez, 24, to the active roster. Fernandez, a member of the Uruguay National Team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was acquired on Thursday and has received his International Transfer Certificate. He is now eligible to play on Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Ljungberg was signed as Seattle’s first Designated Player on October 28, 2008. He came to Sounders FC after 10 seasons in the English Premier League. In his nine years with Arsenal he was a member of teams that won two EPL titles, three FA Cups and a UEFA Champions League final appearance.

This season the former Swedish international played in each of the first 15 Sounders FC matches (starting 14) and contributed three assists. Altogether over the two seasons he played in 37 matches (starting 35), scoring two goals and adding 12 assists.

In 2009 Sounders FC became the first expansion team since 1998 to qualify for the playoffs and finished with the league’s fourth-best point total. Seattle also won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship and broke the MLS season record for attendance.

Unbeaten in its last three MLS matches and over five games in all competitions, Sounders FC plays the Earthquakes in Santa Clara, Calif., on Saturday at Buck Shaw Stadium. First kick is 7 p.m. PT.

Transaction: Seattle Sounders (MLS) - Traded MF Freddie Ljungberg to Chicago Fire in exchange for conditional selection in 2011 or 2012 SuperDraft.