SEATTLE — Nicolás Lodeiro was doing Nicolás Lodeiro things.
Down a goal at home in the 57th minute, the Uruguayan Designated Player hammered home a vicious half-volley from the top of the box to equalize against D.C. United. He scored Seattle’s first goal in 363 minutes and helped spark a 2-1 comeback win at CenturyLink Field.
Absent for the previous five matches with a toe fracture and national team camp, Lodeiro returned in a massive way and produced in the final third like he has since he arrived two years ago.
“He’s a world-class player,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “For the team to respond as it did is testament to not only Nico’s brilliant left foot, but also his commitment to trying to help the team progress. It was a combination of him wanting to help the team win and putting the team in a good spot and actually delivering and finishing the play.”
Lodeiro scores the equalizer vs. D.C. United | Mike Fiechtner
How Lodeiro was able to maintain his composure and step up when his team needed him was all the more impressive when considering the massive disappointment he felt after just missing out on Uruguay’s final 23-man World Cup roster. He had been training with La Celeste over the last few weeks as part of their provisional roster ahead of traveling to Russia. He arrived back in Seattle on Friday after a long trip from South America, yet was still able to perform at high level and lead the Sounders to their first win in a month.
“I’m happy to be back here,” Lodeiro said. “Obviously I would have preferred, and my peers would have preferred, for me to be at the World Cup, but what happened, happened, and now I have to compose myself and recover and be here with my team.
“It’s hard to forget what happened to me, I’m sad,” he added. “But the important thing tonight is that the team won.”
The Sounders will need to continue to rely on Lodeiro moving forward as the engine in the midfield — he played as a No. 8 on Saturday as opposed to his typical inverted winger role — to produce on the offensive end. He led all players with 105 touches and 84 total passes, including 55 in D.C.’s half. He completed his passes at a 93-percent clip.
“It’s important to turn the page and now start thinking to do the best for the Sounders and turn around the situation that we’re in and be professional,” Lodeiro said. “In the two years I’ve been here, both the year we were champions and when we made it to the final, we were always very strong playing at home and winning. That’s not been happening, so it’s nice to be back to winning at home.”