TUKWILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders and Emmanuel Cecchini are mutually exploring options which could cut short his time with the team, sources indicated to Sounder at Heart Wednesday.
The Sounders acquired Cecchini on loan from Malaga on Aug. 8 to shore up the midfield with an eye toward fully integrating him for the 2020 season. However, Cecchini played sparingly during his time with the Sounders over the course of the remainder of the season. Between his arrival and the end of the season, he made only the four appearances, starting one game.
While there was no indication that Cecchini did anything wrong, his inability to displace other players in the starting lineup and failure to make the 18-man roster down the stretch of the season raised eyebrows about his future with the team.
“The kid came in just at the wrong time, the timing wasn’t there,” head Brian Schmetzer said on Wednesday. “The team was in a little bit of flux, we hadn’t settled in on a real lineup. Emmanuel was a nice player, he never stopped working. Even when I had to tell him he didn’t even make the 18, he continued to work. He understood this was for the good of the team.
“I don’t have any negative things to say about Emmanuel. It was just the wrong place, wrong time. How we solve that, push that forward in the future, that will be determined.”
Notably when GM Garth Lagerwey was talking about plans for 2020, players like Jordy Delem and Danny Leyva were mentioned as potential depth pieces while Cecchini’s name was omitted. Lagerwey also mentioned that finding a longterm solution at defensive midfielder — theoretically Cecchini’s primary position — as one of the team’s remaining priorities.
Cecchini is on loan from Spanish side Malaga through 2020, but that could be altered if all parties find a more preferable solution. Whether that is in MLS or abroad is yet to be determined.
The Sounders have recent experience moving players who did not prove to be a fit with the team, even when they were recently signed. Magnus Wolff Eikrem spent less than six months with the Sounders before he left the team, though that was a release and not a reallocation of a loan agreement.
If the parties are unable to reach a resolution, Cecchini would presumably join the team for preseason on Jan. 11, 2020.