There have been many great signings in Major League Soccer. Some of the biggest names in world football have called MLS home at one point.
But few have had the influence and impact that Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro has had. The Uruguayan midfielder led the Rave Green to its first MLS Cup title in his first season. In 2019, he lifted MLS Cup once again, this time in front of a sold-out crowd at Lumen Field. In seven seasons Lodeiro has been a constant on the team, leading the Sounders to six finals.
And on Wednesday night, Lodeiro once again helped the Sounders reach new heights as the first MLS club to win Concacaf Champions League, defeating Liga MX side Pumas UNAM 3-0. It was the type of unprecedented accomplishment that further cements Seattle’s captain as one of the most impactful players in MLS history
“Nico Lodeiro is the greatest Sounder of all time,” General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said after the match.
Playing in front of a record-breaking, sold-out crowd at Lumen Field, Lodeiro covered every inch of the pitch as he drove the Sounders forward in attack and hassled Pumas players all evening when defending. The decisive second goal was classic Lodeiro: a clever run into the final third followed by a brilliant one-touch pass to put Raúl Ruidíaz through on goal.
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With time winding down, Lodeiro scored an emphatic goal of his own to make it 3-0 and kickoff the celebrations throughout the stadium.
“One day they will write a book about the Seattle Sounders, and Nicolás Lodeiro will have many chapters,” former Sounder Herc Gomez said on Futbol Americas after the CCL Final. “The best player to ever wear a Seattle Sounders jersey.”
The numbers speak for themselves. Lodeiro is far and away the Sounders’ all-time assist leader with 62, and he’s added 34 goals to boot. He also has an additional eight goals and 10 assists in the postseason. During Seattle’s run in Champions League this season, Lodeiro posted five goals and two assists in eight games as the Sounders went unbeaten against the best teams in the region.
“He is probably the greatest acquisition in MLS history,” said ExtraTime Radio’s David Gass following Lodeiro’s two penalty conversions in Leg One in Mexico City last week that sent the tie back to Seattle level on aggregate at 2-2.
The real crowning achievement is his leadership ability in big matches. There is perhaps no better example than his dominant display against Pumas on Wednesday, as Lodeiro notched a goal and an assist to seal a monumental victory.
“If you look at Lodeiro as a figure with the Seattle Sounders from the moment he signed up until now, you think about the biggest moments that he’s had, where they’ve won MLS Cup, where he’s had MVP-type performances…this is the ideal type of player,” said ExtraTime Radio’s Charlie Davis, a former MLS forward and United States international. “If you’re ever talking about scouting and the right signing, this is the ideal impact you want from your [Designated Player].”
Lodeiro had a goal and an assist in the CCL Round of 16 home win over F.C. Motagua in a 5-0 rout. He netted a penalty against New York City FC in the first leg of the CCL semifinals before proving yet again across both legs of the CCL Final that he is going to go down on the Sounders’ Mount Rushmore of greatest ever players.
With the 3-0 win over Pumas on Wednesday, captain Lodeiro lifted another trophy at home like he did for MLS Cup 2019 and rewrote both club, and league, history.