Xavier Arreaga was officially named to Ecuador’s World Cup roster on Monday, making him the fourth Seattle Sounders representative in Qatar. He joins Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan and Nouhou, marking the first time the Sounders have sent more than two active players to the World Cup. As a result, the Sounders will receive at least $760,000 in compensation from FIFA.
“We are extremely proud of Xavier and wish him the best representing Ecuador at the World Cup,” Sounders General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a team release. “He’s been an important member of Ecuador’s squad over the past few years, so we’re proud to see him rewarded with the opportunity to compete on the world’s stage.”
The centerback has made 18 appearances for Ecuador, with all but one coming after he joined the Sounders in 2019. Although he was used less frequently in the most recent part of the campaign, Arreaga did make nine appearances during the World Cup qualifying process and was part of virtually every training camp.
Ecuador will face host nation Qatar in the tournament opener on Sunday in what could turn out to be an elimination match, as Senegal and the Netherlands are generally considered the favorites to advance out of the group. If Ecuador were to win and advance, it would mark just the second time in their history they moved beyond the group stage.
That Ecuador is even here, though, is a bit of a surprise. They failed to qualify in both 2018 and 2010 and as recently as 2020 were the second lowest-ranked team in CONMEBOL. Even now, they’re the seventh-ranked team in the 10-team confederation.