Hard to imagine the Sounders’ two big offseason losses affecting anyone more than Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
The 28-year-old lost his center back partner Jeff Parke in an offseason trade to the Philadelphia Union. Hurtado has also been close friends with fellow Colombian Fredy Montero, who was loaned to Millonarios last month.
So what does he think?
Regarding Parke’s loss, Hurtado said through a translator: “We’re going to have to pay lots of attention to the players we have here. He’s a great player and he’s no longer here, but obviously there’s nothing we can do. We have to deal with what we have here and move on.”
And on Montero: “It’s something difficult and strange knowing that I spent four years with him, but it’s going to be something important for him, and we hope that he will do really well there.”
If you’re looking for key Sounders going into the 2013 season, Hurtado has to be near the top of that list, especially considering the team’s state at center back. He showed that he’s capable of being a star defender in Year 1, when he was named an MLS All-Star and a Defender of the Year finalist.
Things changed for the worse the following season, when Hurtado suffered a torn ACL.
But coach Sigi Schmid, who called 2011 an “off year” for Hurtado, liked what he saw at the end of last season.
“I think he was back to the form that he showed even in his first year, when he was an all-star defender,” the coach said in an end-of-the-season press conference.
So what does Hurtado think?
“I feel stronger than before,” he said. “Thank God I was able to overcome that (injury). The trainers here obviously worked very hard and now let’s work and see what comes our way.”