There are only 14 regular-season games left in the Seattle Sounders’ season. They are currently 10 points out of the final playoff spot with two games in hand. To say there’s some urgency to turn things around quickly is probably a dramatic understatement.
How soon Nicolas Lodeiro will be able to help with that, though, is still an open question.
Even putting any concerns about fitness aside, Lodeiro first needs to be legally eligible to play in the United States. That means the Sounders need to hold his international transfer certificate and obtain a P-1 work visa. In the past, that process has taken anywhere from several days to a few weeks.
Both privately and publicly, the Sounders have expressed some hope Lodeiro will be cleared to play in time for Sunday’s game against the LA Galaxy. They are apparently a little ahead of the curve in this instance, too, as Lodeiro came to the United States on a tourist visa and won’t have to leave the country — as many previous transfers have had to do — in order to convert it into a work-eligible one.
"We’re very excited to have Nico and we think he’s going to help us, hopefully within the next week," Sounders Sporting Director Chris Henderson said on Wednesday.
Added interim head coach Brian Schmetzer: "We gotta make sure he’s eligible. We’re hoping so, we’re keeping our fingers crossed. It would be fantastic."
Lodeiro seems equally excited to get onto the field.
"I feel like I can play now," Lodeiro told SoundersFC.com. "I have to sleep tonight and shake off the long flight, but tomorrow I want to play. "I came with a lot of motivation and I want to play as soon as possible. It’s what I like to do, it’s what I came to do."