Nicolas Lodeiro has quickly proven his worth for MLS side Seattle Sounders as his arrival in the Pacific Northwest has given the squad an injection of life
What a difference one player can make.
When Nicolas Lodeiro arrived in Seattle on July 27th the Sounders had lost four of their last five and were in 9th place in the Western Conference with 20 points. Missing the playoffs seemed like a foregone conclusion. They had also just fired long time manager Sigi Schmid, who had managed them for their entire 8-year MLS existence.
Now, on August 27th, they are sitting one point below a playoff spot and they have a game in hand on the 6th place team Portland Timbers. They also play the Timbers tomorrow night. This gives them a chance to jump into a playoff spot with a win or tie. They will still have a game in hand, too.
Nicolas Lodeiro has been the mastermind of this turnaround.
Lodeiro still has not lost in MLS play as the Sounders are 3-0-2 since his arrival. Playing out on the right wing for the Sounders, he has jump started a stagnated offense and helped put the Sounders in a position to make the playoffs.
Lodeiro has played every minute in his five appearances while also producing 2 goals and 4 assists. The 27-year-old winger is also posting a more than respectable 7.60 player rating (See full stats here). While these stats alone are enough to show his contributions to the squad, his intangibles are what are really making a difference.
Lodeiro is able to run the game for the Sounders, even on the wing. His constant movement allows him to have loads of space and his ability to find and execute passes when he has that space makes him incredibly dangerous. He is so dangerous that teams have decided to man mark him at times, opening space for his teammates. This has allowed the struggling offense to get into a goal-scoring rhythm.
During his 5 appearances the Sounders have put the ball in the back of the net 10 times. In the previous five league games (not counting a 5-0 rout of a FC Dallas reserve team) they had scored 4.
That’s a huge stat.
The Sounders are a different team with a threat like Lodeiro on the pitch. His talent makes him a priority for any defense. This means that even if opposing sides are able to keep him quiet, the resources needed to do so will allow space for others to operate.
Since Lodeiro has arrived Cristian Roldan has shown why he deserves a National Team call-up. His great play has certainly been helped by the extra space afforded to the Sounders by Lodeiro. Also, Jordan Morris has continued to make incredible runs at defenses. When he gets his finishing touch back the service he’ll have from Lodeiro could make him nearly unstoppable.
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All these positive points are going to be even more important going forward as Clint Dempsey has to see a doctor about an irregular heartbeat.
Nicolas Lodeiro has given the Sounders an injection of life and if he can keep up his stellar play the Sounders should be in a position to make a late season push for the playoffs and beyond.