MLS

After FIFA World Cup qualification, Sounders midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro shifts focus to MLS Cup

Lodeiro 8.23

Nicolás Lodeiro accomplished a pretty big goal this month, but there’s still another one up for grabs.


Earlier this week, Lodeiro helped Uruguay punch its ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Now, the midfielder has his eyes set on clinching the Sounders’ ninth consecutive postseason berth.


“Things are a little more tranquil now that Uruguay has qualified for the [FIFA World Cup], we can check that off our list,” Lodeiro told media after training on Friday. “But the objective now with this club is to qualify for the playoffs, and we need to take care of business on Sunday.”


Uruguay secured a FIFA World Cup berth after finishing second to Brazil in the CONMEBOL standings. During the qualifying stage, the two-time FIFA World Cup champion posted a 9-4-5 record.


“It was a great experience,” Lodeiro said. “We had a great time, and it was fantastic news that we qualified.”


The 28-year-old midfielder now shifts his attention solely to MLS, where the Sounders look clinch a postseason berth on Sunday against FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field (4:30 p.m. PT / FS1, FOX Deportes, KIRO 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360 AMTICKETS). In his first full season with Seattle, Lodeiro has five goals and 11 assists in 31 MLS appearances.


He’s fully aware that the postseason is where it counts, though. Last season, Lodeiro set a club record with three goals in six playoff matches. He also netted a crucial penalty kick in the fifth round of the MLS Cup shootout against Toronto FC.


In order to ensure the Sounders have a chance to make another deep run into the postseason, Lodeiro emphasizes the importance of producing a complete effort against FC Dallas.


“A lot of it is just being concentrated for the entire match,” Lodeiro said. “Sometimes we don’t start as strongly as we’d like to, so it’s about making sure we start and finish strongly and that we’re mentally focused.”

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