SEATTLE — From columnists to fans to broadcasters and players — everyone was hoping that Magnus Wolff Eikrem would live up to the hype his name so easily provided for him when he joined the Sounders. It’s a rule in sports that when you have a great name like Ha Ha Clinton Dix, Danny Invincible, or Paul Dickov, the expectations for you are that much higher.
Fortunately for Seattle, Wolff seems like he has the potential to be the genuine article after arriving on a free transfer from Sweden’s Malmo FF. In his club debut against Santa Tecla in the CONCACAF Champions League, Wolff tallied a goal and had two key passes leading to goals that won’t make the stat sheet, but will make opposing coaches circle No. 22 in their notes.
Wolff said his instructions entering the match at halftime were simple.
“Just make something happen,” Wolff said. “Get us a goal.”
Two minutes after coming on for Tony Alfaro, Wolff managed to do just that. The Norwegian served Nicolas Lodeiro in the left alley on a second ball from a corner, before Lodeiro found Bruin inside for the series-winner.
Wolff wasn’t done, however. In the 69th minute, Eikrem slid a ball to the end line that resulted in an easy finish for Lodeiro from Clint Dempsey.
Still, Wolff found a way on to the official stat sheet in the match’s final minutes thanks to a give-and-go with Dempsey that produced the final dagger for Santa Tecla.
Wolff said he felt at home on CenturyLink’s FieldTurf from his time in Norway and Sweden, even saying he preferred the surface to natural grass. For his new teammates, he claimed playing with the likes of Lodeiro and Dempsey made everything easier.
“Obviously, I’ve been training with them for a long time now,” Wolff said. “They’re very good players and to be able to play with them makes everyone else so much better.”
Admittedly, it is difficult to gauge how well Wolff’s play will immediately translate to MLS when the season opens against Los Angeles FC Sunday. Still, his link-up play with the rest of the midfield, particularly in the passing sequences on the sidelines Seattle likes to use while creeping its fullbacks up the field seems to signal that the new arrival will mesh right in with the Sounders lineup.