TUKWILA, Wash. — Judging from his activity in training and the comments made about him by teammates and coach Brian Schmetzer at training Friday, Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro will feature heavily in Saturday’s match against D.C. United. Lodeiro only returned from international duty with Uruguay on Thursday.
Lodeiro participated fully in training and looked to be his usual self, despite playing with a broken toe.
Midfielder Cristian Roldan said he had no question about Lodeiro’s commitment to the Sounders and cited an immediately improved mood as soon as the Uruguayan arrived.
“Morale goes up from the get-go,” Roldan said. “You see it in the locker room. You see a lot of smiles from saying hello to Nico, who is probably more frustrated than anybody, but Nico comes here and works extremely hard and that’s what veterans do. That’s what good guys in the locker room do. Much like two years ago when he came to the team, he can have that same impact this year.”
The Sounders would benefit greatly from a 9-2-4 run that Lodeiro’s arrival in 2016 sparked to spur them to the playoffs and the MLS Cup.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said that while disappointment was to be expected from being cut from Uruguay’s squad, he thought of Lodeiro as a World Cup-caliber player and would be happy to reintegrate him into the squad.
Roldan said that he expects Lodeiro’s leadership to have a big impact on the outcome of the match against D.C.
“Nico doesn’t speak English as well as I do, so he leads a lot by example,” Roldan said. “He’s a guy that comes out here, just got back from Uruguay, playing on a broken toe. He’s going to be the fittest guy out here, he’ll make every tackle and he’ll go into the game and be the best player. He leads by example.
“He’s going to play a big part in tomorrow’s game and I look forward to it.”