The most obvious position of need for the Seattle Sounders this offseason is probably signing an additional winger. On that basic level, the report that tenuously linked them to the pursuit of Ecuadoran Joao Rojas makes some sense. On basically every other level, though, there doesn’t seem to be much reason pay the report much mind.
Rojas is a 23-year-old midfielder who has dozens of appearances across the attacking band, but has primarily played on the left side. His most productive season was 2019 when he had four goals and seven assists in a little less than 1,900 minutes for Ecuador’s Emelec. Last year, he slumped a bit with just three goals and two assists in about 1,300 minutes across the two seasons. Still, he’s promising enough that some team has apparently offered $4 million for 50% of his rights and he does have thee caps for Ecuador’s national team.
While that broadly fits the profile of a player the Sounders might pursue, there doesn’t appear to be much tying them to this report.
For starters, the Sounders’ link is based solely on the original report’s mentioning that the unnamed team pursuing Rojas already has an Ecuadoran player. Through Xavier Arreaga, the Sounders are one of five MLS teams who meet that criteria. There’s also a pretty good chance the Sounders have scouted Rojas at some point, but that’s something that applies to countless players.
Not only is the link a bit tenuous, the numbers in this report suggest Rojas would require a Designated Player tag, something the Sounders don’t have. At 23 years old, it’s also unlikely Rojas would qualify under the so-called “young money” initiative that has been widely discussed but so far remains unimplemented.
There’s also this reporting from Sounder at Heart contributor Niko Moreno:
Have been digging around @ECUAGOL reports regarding Joao Rojas' offer from #MLS and I have the following:— Niko Moreno (@ELROLONW) December 28, 2020
- #Sounders is not one of the teams targeting player
- I'm told only offer is from a Eastern conference team
- Player / club leaning toward #LigaBBVAMX option @SportsPulso pic.twitter.com/Gnh17KVbGQ