Nashville SC

Report: Nashville SC to trade for Sounders’ Handwalla Bwana

Late last night, the Washington Post‘s Steve Goff reported that Seattle Sounders FC is preparing to trade winger Handwalla Bwana to Nashville SC:

As I noted in my quote tweet, I have heard word about a specific player’s impending departure, so at this point I’m assuming Nashville sends a player and some cash in exchange for Bwana – unless NSC is sending more than one player, and the Allocation Money flows in the other direction.

The 23-year old Bwana is on a reserve-minimum salary and age-eligible to remain that way through next season. Thanks to that age and his status as a Sounders Homegrown, he can fill the 30th slot on the roster – a spot that must go to a Homegrown age 24 or younger – joining Derrick Jones (Philadelphia Union Homegrown), who fills the 29th slot (Alex Muyl is also a Homegrown player – from the Red Bulls Academy – but no longer age-eligible for either of those slots).

Bwana has played only 205 minutes for the Sounders this year, with MVP candidate Jordan Morris and fellow USMNT vet Cristian Roldan locking down the wing positions. Miguel Ibarra has been the first choice to replace either of those two in a like-for-like fashion, and even he has under 300 minutes as Brian Schmetzer has largely chosen to adjust tactics rather than use a similar player when one of his top pairing is unavailable. Bwana last got six minutes as an offensive replacement for centerback Shane O’Neill when the Sounders were chasing a goal late against Portland Timbers Sept. 6. He started and played 56 games in the preceding game, a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake, with Schmetzer employing him as a left winger in a 3-4-3 formation. Previously, he started Seattle’s final two games at the MLS is Back Tournament (including the knockout-stage loss to LAFC, which does not count in official stats).

Despite his limited playing time, Bwana has been pretty effective when on the pitch: he’s second on the team to Morris in American Soccer Analysis‘s goals added metric over the course of the season. Adjusted for time on the field – obviously we have sample-size issues here, so don’t over-interpret what I’m about to say – he’s got about double Morris’s G+ per 96 minutes played.

More to come if/when the trade becomes official.

Header photo by Matt Stith & Devin L’Amoreaux/Courtesy Major League Soccer

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