One of the Seattle Sounders’ biggest offseason needs was finding a reliable backup to Raúl Ruidíaz. They appear to have found one.
The Sounders are reportedly close to acquiring Héber in a trade with New York City FC, according to MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert. The Sounders will apparently be sending an unspecified amount of GAM to NYCFC. (Update: Looks like they’ll be sending $400k in GAM to NYCFC.)
Sources: The Seattle Sounders are closing in on a deal to acquire forward Heber in a trade with NYCFC.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) December 29, 2022
Heber, 31, has 24g/6a in 3,564 MLS minutes. He won MLS Cup 2021 with NYCFC. Excelled with HNK Rijeka in Croatia before joining NYCFC in 2019. pic.twitter.com/8TTI8MgwtI
The 31-year-old Brazilian forward has been mostly very productive when healthy during his previous four MLS seasons, scoring 24 goals in 3,546 MLS minutes, for a rate of .61 goals per 90 minutes. Ruidíaz, by comparison, has averaged about .68 goals per 90 minutes with the Sounders.
Unfortunately, Héber has missed quite a bit of time with injury. Most of that was due to an ACL tear he suffered in 2020 which kept him out for nearly a complete calendar year and limited him to about 100 minutes in 2021.
Héber started 2022 slowly but ended up finishing quite strong. After Taty Castellanos’ loan opened up some playing time, Héber scored four goals over his final nine appearances, including two in the playoffs.
The Sounders will have to use TAM to help pay down Héber’s salary, and this makes it considerably less likely that they’ll sign a forward on the international market. Héber made about $900,000 in guaranteed compensation last year and is believed to be in the final year of his contract. He is also expected to occupy an international spot.