From catching fish in Pike Place Market to shoe-phone celebrations Nicolas Lodeiro captured the hearts of Seattle Sounders fans almost immediately. Some of that is because the team has 11 points since he started playing here in the Puget Sound, but it’s also about the unique talents he brings from Uruguay and Boca Juniors here to the Upper Left.
Nico can slice a defense from the wing or a central position. His passes are excellent from distance (6th most successful long balls among attacking midfielders with at least five appearances), short passes (1st for successful short passes in that same group), or by the cross (5th). Only Diego Valeri and Sacha Klejstan have more key passes among attacking mids and only three players (Gerrard, Kaka, Oduro) have more primary assists per game from those attacking roles.
Those are impressive numbers, but more simply he’s been amazing. In just those six matches he has two goals and six assists. He is such a game-changer that FourFourTwo rates him as the 5th best No. 10 in MLS right now. Lodeiro is only rated that low because;
Right now, though, we're being cautious, possibly out of reverance [sic] for more tenured MLS stars he's destined to pass.
FourFourTwo talks about teams making adjustments, so far that hasn’t been true. Since being kept out of the boxscore in his first ever MLS match his games show no sign of a slowdown. He had two assists in match two; a goal and an assist in match three; an assist in match four; a goal to save a point in the sweatbox match at Houston and two assists against Portland, who already saw him.
Despite teams focusing on Lodeiro solely in the last two matches — as Clint Dempsey was out — he has still managed a goal and two assists.
This is dominance - beautiful, creative, technical dominance.
So, this Lodeiro guy is pretty good. pic.twitter.com/aOlypsusAY— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) August 28, 2016
As Lodeiro bursts onto the MLS scene it is hard to overstate his importance to the Sounders. Sounder at Heart’s resident player rater has
three four times rated him as the best player on the team. In one game he earned a nine, he was not the Man of the Match. Nicolas is averaging an 7.83 out of ten on our scale.
Lodeiro is doing all of this and maintaining a role with Uruguay. You probably have heard of them. They’re the leaders in CONMEBOL World Cup 2018 Qualifying and ranked 12th in the world by FIFA. He’s traveling many thousands of miles to continue to represent his nation, and now he will do so as a Sounder.
Seattle. Home of the modern pioneer. Tucked away, out on the edge, yet as close to London as it is to Tokyo. Here, we embrace contradiction. Outdoorsy yet connected. Progressive yet staunch traditionalists. Some say we're bursting at the seams. We say we're just getting started. In the air, on the field, you can't stop Seattle.