Seattle Sounders midfielder Víctor Rodríguez returned from Barcelona last week after he and his wife had their first child, and the 28-year-old midfielder picked up right where he left off on the pitch.
Rodríguez scored in his second straight match in Sunday’s 4-0 win over FC Dallas and looked as dangerous as ever making incisive runs on the flank. He also set up Will Bruin’s second goal in the second half to put the match fully out of reach.
“He’s very dangerous,” goalkeeper Stefan Frei said of Rodríguez. “When he gets the ball, his first thought is to go to goal. He’s not afraid to take on players as we saw in his first goal he scored against Vancouver, creating something out of nothing. He’s not afraid to pull the trigger with his left or right [foot], so I think he puts teams on alert.”
Something Rodríguez has done especially well over his last few games is click with fellow attacking midfielders Clint Dempsey and Nicolás Lodeiro. Rodríguez said he and the midfield corp are really starting to understand each other and their tendencies, which is leading to a fluidity in the attacking third that’s promising as the playoffs loom.
“He has found a little bit of rhythm with Clint,” Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said. “That’s a good combination.”
Added Frei: “We have Clint who gets a lot of attention and now we have Victor who gets a lot of attention and Nico who gets a lot of attention. At some point, there’s no more attention to give for opponents. Someone will then find a little bit of space and we have that quality to then be able to take care of that.”
Rodríguez bonded immediately with Spanish-speakers Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Román Torres and Osvaldo Alonso. Their ability to make Rodríguez feel welcomed and at home has gone a long way in his adjustment and subsequent on-field performances. Seattle is hoping the dynamic Spaniard can play a major role in defending its MLS Cup.
“I’ve felt a part of the Sounders family right from the beginning,” Rodríguez said. “Now comes the more challenging and interesting part of the season where we’re going to have to be very focused on the objective [of winning another title].”