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Nico Lodeiro has second surgery of 2021

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Exact timeline unclear, but Brian Schmetzer says Lodeiro will be back in 2021.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

TUKWILA, Wash. — Nicolás Lodeiro underwent his second surgery of 2021 on Monday, this time to “clean up” some lingering discomfort that resurfaced over the past couple weeks in the same right knee that had been repaired earlier this year. There was no immediate timeline for Lodeiro’s recovery but head coach Brian Schmetzer did say he expected the midfielder to return this year.

“When you do a little clean out, it’s not it’s like an ACL,” Schmetzer said following Monday’s training session. “He will be back.”

Lodeiro has already missed 19 of the Sounders 26 matches across MLS and Leagues Cup play this year, but seemed to be rounding into form recently after going to the full 90 minutes in consecutive matches on Aug. 29 and Sept. 11. When Lodeiro was left off the game day roster for the Leagues Cup semifinal on Sept. 14, it was deemed “precautionary” by Schmetzer. After Lodeiro was left off the roster for Saturday’s match against Real Salt Lake, Schmetzer said the Sounders were seeking a second opinion. That second opinion apparently led to Lodeiro getting the surgery on Monday.

Although the Sounders still have 11 matches plus playoffs remaining in their schedule — including Wednesday’s Leagues Cup final — even an optimistic timeline suggests Lodeiro will miss at least the next three league games as they’ll be coming in quick succession.

Regardless of how quickly Lodeiro returns, however, this has been an ongoing concern that dates back to at least the offseason ahead of the 2020 season, which caused him to miss the start of that season. Lodeiro was able to return in time for the MLS is Back Tournament, but that was eight months after he had last played. Lodeiro also had a knee injury in 2016 that caused him to miss several games with Boca Juniors prior to moving to the Sounders.

The positive spin on this is that the Sounders have mostly managed pretty well without Lodeiro this year. The Sounders are 11-6-4 in MLS play and 2-0-0 in Leagues Cup when he doesn’t start.