Nicolas Lodeiro has been named to Uruguay’s provisional 26-man roster for the 2018 World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday. There had been a rumor that coach Oscar Tabarez was not going to release any names publicly until the final roster was due on June 4, but that’s apparently not the case.
Lodeiro would normally be considered a reasonably safe bet to make the final roster, but his injury has cast at least some doubt. He hasn’t played in any of the Sounders’ last three games and it’s at least possible that he won’t have played a match in more than six weeks when Uruguay opens World Cup play on June 15 against Egypt.
Even before his injury, Lodeiro has shifted into more of a bench role for his national team in recent years. Lodeiro’s last start for Uruguay was in October 2016, and he’s not made an appearance for them since last October.
The more immediate question, though, is whether or not Lodeiro will play for the Sounders before joining Uruguay. Although MLS was granted a waiver to keep players through May 28, the Sounders would likely release Lodeiro sooner if that was requested. It also remains unclear if Lodeiro’s toe will be sufficiently healed in time for the May 26 game against Real Salt Lake.
If Lodeiro doesn’t play in that game, the earliest he’d likely be available to the Sounders is the June 30 match against the Portland Timbers as Uruguay’s group stage ends on June 25 with a match against Russia. Uruguay will likely be favored to advance out of a group that is rounded out by Saudi Arabia.