Nicolas Benezet, the former Ligue 1 player, will be joining the Sounders, according to his agency. Although no details of the move have been released, it is likely a trade with the Colorado Rapids, for whom Benezet currently plays. The Rapids acquired Benezet from Toronto FC following the 2019 season in exchange for $50,000 of General Allocation Money, but they also agreed to pay a transfer fee of about $550,000 to Guingamp. Considering Benezet has made just one start for the Rapids this year, occupies an international roster spot and is being paid about $650,000 a year, it’s hard to imagine the Sounders are giving up much.
Our client @NicolasBenezet has accepted an offer from @SoundersFC to join them until the end of the season.— Agence Kemari (@AgenceKemari) August 5, 2021
Very exciting opportunity for Nico, with the chance to join the best franchise in @MLS and fight for the title
cc @tombogert #teamkemari #MLS #transferwindow
Benezet has spent parts of three mostly underwhelming seasons in MLS since leaving France in 2019, tallying three goals and four assists in about 1,500 minutes. His most notable achievement — at least as it relates to the Sounders — is scoring a goal that helped TFC to upset Atlanta United and put the 2019 MLS Cup in Seattle.
While the 30-year-old probably isn’t a difference-maker for the Sounders, his advanced stats suggest he’s been a bit better than his counting stats suggest. Benezet averages .26 Expected Assists, 4.45 shot-creating actions, 5.98 progressive passes and 13.49 progressive carries per 90 minutes. Those all rank in the 85th percentile or better for MLS midfielders.
As recently as the 2018-19 season, Benezet was a regular starter in Ligue 1. In his final two seasons with Guingamp, he made 36 starts and logged about 3,100 minutes while scoring six goals with four assists. In six Ligue 1 seasons, he had 18 goals and 12 assists to go along with another 11 goals and 12 assists in two Ligue 2 seasons.
Benezet will likely be more of a depth piece for the Sounders, giving them an added veteran presence off the bench.