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SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Sounders bolstered their defense heading into the final months of the MLS season by acquiring defender Brad Smith on loan from Premier League club Bournemouth on Wednesday ahead of the secondary transfer window closing.
Seattle used targeted allocation money to land the 24-year-old Australian. The loan is through June 2019 but he could be recalled by Bournemouth in January.
"There were other options in England but I decided to go out and test myself. Open myself to a new challenge," Smith said.
Smith spent the past two seasons at Bournemouth after starting his career in the youth system at Liverpool. He debuted for Liverpool during the 2013-14 season and, after being loaned to Swindon Town for a season, returned to Liverpool and made 10 appearances during the 2015-16 season before moving on to Bournemouth. Smith also has 18 caps for the Australian national team.
"Once I heard the interest and spoke to the manager it was a no-brainer," Smith said.
Smith should help solidify Seattle's back line and will likely be in competition for time at left back with youngster Nouhou Tolo and veteran Waylon Francis. Smith started in the youth system as a striker and has experience playing in the midfield.
"We'll have to assess that. Players have to come in and earn their spots," Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said. "He'll have to come in and compete and we'll assess it as a group this week."
Seattle is unbeaten in its last seven matches, including four straight wins. The Sounders host Western Conference-leading FC Dallas on Sunday and have moved within five points of a playoff spot. Smith likely won't make his debut until Aug. 18 at the earliest when Seattle hosts the LA Galaxy.