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Sounders sign much-needed centerback

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Yeimar Gomez Andrade will likely slot in alongside Xavier Arreaga once he’s fully integrated.

Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata v Union - Superliga 2019/20 Photo by Gustavo Garello/Jam Media/Getty Images

When the Seattle Sounders signed Xavier Arreaga last May, it was with the hope that they had secured a longterm solution at centerback. Now, they might have his longterm partner.

The Sounders finally announced their signing of Colombian Yeimar Gomez Andrade on Wednesday, confirming rumors that have been circulating for about two weeks. The Sounders used Targeted Allocation Money to sign Yeimar, who will occupy an international roster spot and leave the team with one spot available to fill. Reports out of Argentina suggested the Sounders paid a transfer fee of between $1.5 million-$2 million.

“I had the chance to scout Yeimar a couple of times in Argentina for Unión de Santa Fe and he had dominant performances at central defender,” Vice President of Soccer & Sporting Director Chris Henderson said in a team release. “He reads the game well and is a strong one-on-one defender. He anticipates and intercepts balls in transition from defense to attack and is very fast. We are excited to see him in a Sounders FC jersey marking attacking players out of the game.”

Yeimar, 27, comes to the Sounders after spending most of his professional career in Argentina. He was mostly recently with Union de Santa Fe, where he was statistically one of the top centerbacks in the Superliga and compares favorably with some of the top defenders in MLS. Yeimar was an elite ball-winner and dominated opponents on aerial duels.

He also seems to be a near-perfect pairing with Arreaga, who is an elite-level passer and is a bit more aggressive in challenging forwards near midfield.

“We are pleased to add a strong, experienced defender to the club,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Yeimar fits the profile we were looking for and we have confidence that he can make a positive impact us. We look forward to having him join us for our preseason preparations and seeing how he fits with our squad.”

It was not immediately clear when Yeimar would start training with teammates, but will likely do so while the team spends nearly two weeks in Mexico starting on Feb. 6. If he’s not fully integrated by the time the Sounders play their first competitive match on Feb. 20 in Honduras, recently signed centerback Shane O’Neill would likely start alongside Arreaga.