Signing of Nicolas Lodeiro a coup for Sounders and MLS
Jul 27, 2016, 4:35 PM | Updated: 4:41 pm
By the time the Sounders had announced Wednesday morning’s signing of Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro, it was hardly a surprise to media and fans. Rumors had been flying for months, but as these things often go, it was hard to tell when exactly something would happen.
Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said at the beginning of the season that the team was working hard to find a creative attacking midfielder, but time quickly ran out on the previous transfer window before Seattle could complete any transactions. Fans were starting to get wary about whether or not any deals would be made this summer – the transfer window opened on July 4, and the team didn’t make any moves for almost three weeks. But as Lagerwey described the situation, the club was willing to wait to get its top target.
And wait they did – for nearly five months. Other names bounced around that were confirmed and denied by the club, but they were adamant that of their shortlist, Lodeiro was at the top.
“We’re really excited about Nico joining the organization, and to transform the way that we play. That’s going to be very important for us,” Lagerwey said.
It’s clear from the way that coaches and staff have been speaking about Lodeiro that they consider him a lynch pin for the club’s future.
“We’re moving forward and we’re looking forward,” Lagerwey said. “Yesterday was a rough day for a lot of people, but today was a good day.”
Lodeiro’s position is one that many have been saying the club needed, not only this season but in recent seasons. The Uruguayan naturally took the No. 10 jersey, which is traditionally reserved for playmakers like himself. Previous Sounders to wear the shirt include Mauro Rosales and Marco Pappa, both players that played key creative roles for the club.
Sometimes the “10” role is a bit nebulous, but if you could nail it down to a couple of key attributes that the club expects from Lodeiro, they would be creativity, strong technical ability, excellent vision and key movement on and off the ball. Lagerwey said that this sort of player was their absolute focus in a new DP.
“We needed a higher level of player in the middle of our team in the middle of the park to run the show for us.”
But beyond simply being the player in the right position for the club’s needs, the signing of Lodeiro is a coup for Seattle (and the league as a whole) because he’s simply one of the most talented players in all of MLS. That’s not to say he’ll be a superstar in rave green, but on potential alone, he’s easily one of the best in the league.
Lagerwey put it this way: “Even five years ago, the thought (that) the playmaking midfielder for Boca Juniors, one of the biggest clubs in all of the Americas, would come and play in MLS in the prime of his career at 27 years old was honestly unthinkable.”
Spenser Davis also covers the Sounders for Sounder at Heart.