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Sounders sign a second Swede
by Ridge Mahoney, December 18th, 2010 1:52PM
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[MLS] He doesn’t have quite the pedigree of Freddie Ljungberg, but he is Swedish, he does play midfield, and he has agreed to play with the Sounders. The club announced that Erik Friberg, 24, is bound for MLS after playing 94 games during four seasons in his native country with BK Hacken. His acquisition will become official once he receives his P-1 visa and the league receives his international transfer certificate (ITC).

He’s not the attacking force of his Swedish predecessor, who left for the Chicago Fire in midseason of 2010: Friberg scored five goals in those 94 games and comes with a reputation as a strong tackler and accurate passer. He signed his first pro contract at age 16 with Vastra Frolunda IF and transferred to BK -- where his father Peter Friberg also played -- after two years as a regular with Vastra.

In 2008, he helped BK gain promotion; it finished eighth this past season in the Allsvenskan. He has played at least 25 games in each of the past three seasons.

“Erik is a player who brings an honest work rate and flair to our midfield,” Coach Sigi Schmid in a team press release. "He has a nonstop engine and is versatile with the ability to play in the middle of the park or wide on occasion. His passing will help diversify our attack in 2011."

Said Sounders technical director Chris Henderson, “Erik is a tactically smart midfielder and very versatile. He has good technique and a good soccer brain. We expect him to contribute and compete for a position centrally or wide.”

The Sounders midfield is already taking on a different look than it featured in 2010. Sanna Nyassi and Nate Sturgis went to Vancouver in the expansion draft, and Peter Vagenas was traded to Colorado. Still, the unit looks solid with returnees Steve Zakuani, Oswaldo Alonso, Brad Evans and Alvaro Fernandez.

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