Sounders FC Loses Two in Expansion Draft

Midfielders Sanna Nyassi, Nathan Sturgis Selected by Vancouver

RENTON, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC midfielders Sanna Nyassi and Nathan Sturgis were selected today by the Vancouver Whitecaps FC with two of its 10 selections in the 2010 Major League Soccer Expansion Draft.

Nyassi, 21, was taken with the second overall pick and Sturgis, 23, the sixth. The Portland Timbers chose FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty with the top overall selection.

Following the selection of Nyassi, Seattle added defender Patrick Ianni to its protected list. Teams could not lose more than two players in the draft.

Nyassi was the third player signed by Sounders FC on September 5, 2008. After playing sparingly in 2009, the Gambian international blossomed in the second half of this season. He started 11 of the final 13 regular season matches on the right wing and both playoff games. Nyassi scored two goals and added three assists during the final 14 matches, and he scored both goals in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final, a 2-1 win over Columbus.

Taken in the 2008 Expansion Draft, Sturgis achieved career highs in appearances (20, including 16 starts) and minutes played (1483). A five-year veteran, he started 15 of the last 16 games in central midfield, scoring one goal, a penalty kick, and two assists.

“Sanna’s explosive speed will be missed and his role in our Open Cup championship will be long remembered,” said Sigi Schmid, Sounders FC head coach. “Nate was a very important player to our team last year, starting in our central midfield as we turned things around in the second half.

“We are disappointed to lose them both to Vancouver,” added Schmid, “and we want to thank them for their contributions to Sounders FC.”

Nyassi, whose twin brother Sainey plays for New England, originally came to Seattle in 2008, signing with the USL-1 Sounders. He contracted malaria twice while growing up in Gambia and has served as the Sounders FC spokesman for the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Nothing But Nets campaign each season. Nyassi was named MLS W.O.R.K.S. April Humanitarian of the Month.

A U.S. youth international, Sturgis was originally drafted 12th overall by the L.A. Galaxy in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, following two seasons at Clemson. He was traded to Real Salt Lake in 2007. His younger brother Caleb is a placekicker for the University of Florida.

Portland Timbers FC   Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Dax McCarty (DAL; Daniel Hernandezprotected)

Round 1

Sanna Nyassi (SEA; Patrick Ianni protected)

Eric Brunner (CLB; Kevin Burns protected)

Round 2

Atiba Harris (DAL; Dallas removed from draft)

Adam Moffat (CLB; Columbus removed from draft)

Round 3

Nathan Sturgis (SEA; Seattle removed from draft)

Anthony Wallace (COL; Wells Thompsonprotected)

Round 4

Shea Salinas (PHI; Chris Seitz protected)

David Horst (RSL; Collen Warner protected)

Round 5

Alan Gordon (CHV; Mariano Trujilloprotected)

Robbie Findley (RSL; Salt Lake removed from draft)

Round 6

O'Brian White (TOR; Julian de Guzmanprotected)

Peter Lowry (CHI; Dasan Robinsonprotected)

Round 7

Alejandro Moreno (PHI; Philadelphia removed from draft)

Jonathan Bornstein (CHV; Chivas removed from draft)

Round 8

Joe Cannon (SJ; Tim Ward protected)

Jordan Graye (DC; Kurt Morsink protected)

Round 9

Jonathan Leathers (KC; Eric Kronbergprotected)

Arturo Alvarez (SJ; San Jose removed from draft)

Round 10

John Thorrington (CHI)