Sounders Sign Swedish International Defender Adam Johansson

The 28-year-old is expected to replace James Riley at right back, plugging the last major remaining hole in the Sounders starting XI.

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Seattle Sounders Announce Signing Of Adam Johannsson

It's been all but official for several days, and the Seattle Sounders have confirmed the signing of 28-year-old Sweden International Adam Johansson. Johansson began his career with fourth-division side Västra Frölunda but has spent the past seven years with IFK Göteborg, one of Sweden's traditional powers. Johansson has also made nine appearances with the Swedish National Team, most recently starting in a 2-0 win against Cyprus in February, and is currently training with the team ahead of a January friendly against Qatar.

Johansson was first-choice at Göteborg for the majority of his time there and captained the team on several occasions. A knee injury suffered in 2009 (from which he has reportedly fully recovered with minimal lasting effect) was a major setback to his chances at becoming a more regular member of the national team, but it did not permanently threaten his starting place at the club level. He was a key member of the league-and-cup-double winning 2007 Göteborg team, as well as the following year's Swedish Supercupen winning squad.

Sounders Technical Director Chris Henderson had this to say about Johansson:

Adam has been a mainstay at Göteborg for years and we are very happy to add him to our defense. His leadership and experience are going to be a great compliment to the growth of our team. Adam is very good tactically and is smart in the way he joins the attack from the back. We are pleased he is also in the running for the starting right back role for Sweden as they prepare for the Euros.

Henderson's praise of Johansson's ability to join in the attack without compromising defensive position is key; one of the more consistent criticisms of James Riley was the frequency which he was caught out of position when participating in attacks, leading the Sounders vulnerable to the counter. Seattle clearly wants to play with attacking fullbacks, but with such a style comes risk; reading between the lines of Henderson's quote, it would appear as though they feel Johansson will give them a better chance of minimizing said risk.

With a new right back in place, the last remaining hole in the Sounders starting XI has been closed. There will almost certainly be more moves (and as of this writing the Sounders do have an open Designated Player spot) but with the players they have in-house Seattle could expect to field a very competitive team next season. Barring any major trades, the rest of the off-season will be about filling out the rest of the roster and perhaps an upgrade or two to the presumed starting XI. There was never much doubt that the Sounders would fill their remaining holes, but everyone can breathe a little easier now that things are official.

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