Former Seattle midfielder Freddie Ljunberg looked like a new man in his home debut for Chicago last night. He was dynamic and effective for most of his 90 minutes on the field, and nearly scored a goal just before halftime.
With Brian McBride playing in front of him, and soon, Nery Castillo playing regularly alongside him, the attacking midfielder has got to be excited about the prospects with his new team.
As for his former team, well, since Seattle shut down Ljunberg in mid-July and then, on July 30, made him the first designated player ever to be traded, Sounders FC has been on a tear.
The men in green have launched an eight-game unbeaten streak in all competitions, and have won their past four league games, including a 2-0 win over Houston last night. They got goals in that one from rejuvenated Colombian striker Fredy Montero, 23, and recently signed 24-year-old DP Alvaro Fernandez of Uruguay, who has two goals in two appearances for his new team.
(If early returns are any indication, the clubs have not been hurt at the gate, either: Seattle pulled in a healthy 36,111 for its match against Houston, while Chicago sold out its New York game, with an attendance of 21,868)
Seattle is currently 8-8-4, while Chicago is 5-5-6.
Time—and playoff qualification—will tell if the trade remains the positive for both sides that it appears to be now.