Seattle Sounders General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey recently called midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro “arguably already the greatest Sounder ever,” and for good reason. Since the Sounders signed the Uruguayan playmaker from Argentine giants Boca Juniors in summer 2016, Lodeiro has taken MLS by storm and has become the cornerstone of Seattle’s franchise.
In honor of him signing an extension to stay in the Emerald City through the 2023 season, here is a look back at five of the best Lodeiro moments in Rave Green. NOTE: These are in chronological order.
2016 MLS Cup: Do-or-Die Penalty Kick
After a tremendous opening half-season upon his arrival in 2016, in which he led the Sounders from the Western Conference basement to a postseason berth and ultimately their first MLS Cup, Lodeiro stepped up to the penalty spot in the fifth round of PKs needing to score to keep Seattle’s hopes alive. Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said Lodeiro wanted to take the fifth kick; he wanted that pressure. With a title hanging in the balance, Lodeiro calmly deposited a perfect penalty into the top right corner. Toronto FC’s Justin Morrow missed to open the next round, Román Torres famously made his and the rest is history.
It only took a little more than two years for Lodeiro to become the Sounders’ all-time MLS assist leader. Lodeiro passed MLS original Fredy Montero with his 35th career helper in the penultimate match of the 2018 regular season when he picked out Raúl Ruidíaz for the match-winner in a 3-2 win at the Houston Dynamo. Lodeiro, who assisted on all three goals in that match, ended 2020 with 58 career MLS assists.
Lodeiro has posted double-digit assists in four consecutive seasons, becoming only the sixth player in MLS history to do so. Also, no one in MLS has more assists than Lodeiro since he entered the league.
2019 Western Conference Final Masterclass
Lodeiro was the architect of the Sounders incredible 3-1 win at LAFC in the 2019 Western Conference Final, a match that is widely considered the best in Seattle’s MLS history. After going down 1-0 inside 20 minutes, Lodeiro assisted Ruidíaz for the equalizer, scored the go-ahead goal and ultimate match-winner then found Ruidíaz again to ice the contest in the second half. Two assists, one goal and one vintage Lodeiro performance later and the Sounders were en route to MLS Cup for the third time in four years. Speaking of…
2019 MLS Cup
The Sounders capped their 2019 season with their second MLS title in four seasons and the first at home in front of a sold-out then-CenturyLink Field. Lodeiro, who hoisted the trophy in his first full season as club captain, added another yet assist on Víctor Rodríguez’s match-winner and further cemented his legacy in Sounders lore.
2020 MLS Best XI, MLS MVP Finalist
After all the team success — two MLS Cups, four Western Conference championships and two Cascadia Cups — Lodeiro at last rightfully earned his individual recognition in 2020. He finished a COVID-19-shortened season with seven goals and 10 assists in 20 matches while spearheading one of the league’s most potent attacks. Alongside teammates Ruidíaz and Jordan Morris, Lodeiro was named MLS Best XI and finished third in Landon Donovan MLS MVP voting.