Ljungberg's time in Seattle could be over soon

Published Jul. 20, 2010 10:43 p.m. ET

Seattle Sounders FC designated player Freddie Ljungberg could be heading out of Seattle soon after less than two seasons of mixed results.

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said after practice Tuesday that Ljungberg and his agent are ''exploring options'' with the current international transfer window. Ljungberg's contract is up in November. He signed a two-year deal before Seattle ever played its first game.

''At this point, he is exploring options,'' Schmid said. ''So we'll see how things proceed in the next three, four, five days.''

The Swedish midfielder and former star at Arsenal has appeared to fall out of favor with the Sounders in his second season playing in Major League Soccer. With the Sounders already struggling to match last year's success, Ljungberg has missed the last two league matches with what the team has said is an ankle injury.

Ljungberg, 33, was an MLS All-Star during Seattle's record-breaking inaugural season, when the team qualified for the MLS playoffs and Ljungberg scored two goals.

Entering Sunday's home match against Colorado, Seattle is tied with Houston to be next-to-last in the Western Conference. The Sounders have yet to beat a Western Conference team this season, all five wins coming against the Eastern Conference.

''Freddie is a great player and he brings energy onto the field. Every time he plays on the field he plays with energy,'' Schmid said. ''For us as a team, you have to judge how we play with him or without him. I know I have my feelings and my judgments on that thing. But at the end of the day, our backs are against the wall and I think the guys know that.''


Ljungberg is Seattle's highest-paid player at $1.3 million this season. He irritated some teammates during preseason training by showing up late, saying he was waiting for the league's labor dispute to be settled before joining the squad. He also drew some criticism from Schmid earlier this season for spending too much time complaining to officials.

Ljungberg hasn't scored in 15 games this season.