Nicolás Lodeiro continues to rise to occasion, lead Seattle Sounders on second-half surge

SEATTLE — When Nicolás Lodeiro arrived in Seattle in summer 2016, he sparked an immediate turnaround and led the Sounders to their first MLS Cup. Since his return from Uruguay camp prior to FIFA World Cup camp, Lodeiro has been unstoppable yet again.

Lodeiro had two assists on Saturday in the Sounders’ massive 5-0 win over the LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field to run Seattle’s win streak to a club-record six matches. He has been a revelation in the last two months, scoring six goals and adding seven assists to help lift the Sounders over the playoff line for the first time all season.

“Nico’s engine in that No. 10 position is not just good in the attacking side of things, but also good defensively because he covers so much ground he can close guys down,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “He makes it challenging for teams to create any sort of extended possession.”

Lodeiro celebrates against the Galaxy on Saturday | Jane Gershovich

Lodeiro is the engine in the Sounders midfield and they go as he goes. Perhaps no one has found more success since the arrival of new Designated Player Raúl Ruidíaz than Lodeiro, who benefits from extra space in Zone 14 (the area in the middle of the pitch just outside the 18-yard box). He has added time and space to pull the strings underneath the attack and pick out key passes — he had five on Saturday — in dangerous positions to unlock opposing defenses.

“I’m very happy when the team wins,” said Lodeiro. “When I assist and don’t score I feel so happy. But the most important thing is the points. This game is most difficult because we know they have a lot of injured players. But the most important thing for us as a team is to never lose focus and [to earn] three points.”