When the Seattle Sounders traded Homegrown midfielder Handwalla Bwana to Nashville SC on Wednesday, what General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey received in return was more than just $225K in General Allocation Money and a sell-on clause. They also received future flexibility in roster construction, something Lagerwey & Co. do better than almost anyone in MLS, as well as defender Jimmy Medranda.
The money — and it’s a lot — is the immediate takeaway from the Bwana deal, but the importance of the Medranda signing cannot be underestimated. Yes, Medranda has had some unfortunate injuries the last few seasons, but he’s still a 26-year-old veteran with nearly 100 MLS matches under his belt.
As Head Coach Brian Schmetzer mentioned in his postgame press conference after the Sounders’ scoreless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes last week, he plans on utilizing Medranda up a line in the midfield position, a spot where Medranda has played earlier in his career and where he found some success. He is yet another depth piece on a championship side littered with options and one who could very well pay dividends for Seattle in both the short and long term.
“We’re going to see if we can use our expert medical team to get [Medranda] fit, get him healthy and see where he fits in,” Schmetzer said on Wednesday. “We need to get him healthy, but you watch some of his highlights of him playing in Kansas City in 2016-17, and he was good. Happy to bring him on board and see what he’s got.”
Medranda’s best season came in 2017 when he recorded two goals and an assist, playing over 2,000 minutes over 33 matches. He was a major factor in Sporting KC’s success and a regular starter for Peter Vermes on some talented SKC teams.
Given the mandatory COVID-19 quarantine protocols and how quickly the remaining MLS matches are approaching, Medranda’s impact this season is to be determined. But if he’s in a position to be able to contribute, the Sounders would love to have his presence on the pitch as the games prove all the more pivotal.
“If [Medranda is] healthy, if he can contribute this year, then Cristian [Roldan] can play back next to [João Paulo] and Gustav [Svensson],” said Schmetzer. “Then there’s a hole where Cristian was. Joevin [Jones] is coming back [from injury]. If we need to push Jordan Morris up a line with two forwards, any type of ideas we have. It gives us flexibility.”