Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator Skip to content

Pedro de la Vega flashes glimpses of his potential

After making just his fourth appearance of the season, de la Vega is tracking toward becoming a regular contributor.

Last Updated
3 min read
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Deep into second-half stoppage time — with the Seattle Sounders already having stormed back into the lead against the Chicago Fire — Pedro de la Vega found himself isolated on the left wing. With Arnaud Souquet on his back, de la Vega spun toward the endline and suddenly had enough space to make a choice. Either he could head to the corner flag and try to waste a few more precious seconds or he could take the ball into the penalty box where he might be able to make something magical happen.

He chose magic.

Now, it didn’t quite come off. A second defender alertly stepped into his path, while Souquet closed him down from behind. Replays seem to show there was a decent penalty shout as Souquet ran into him, but referee Joe Dickerson — having already awarded three penalties, including one that was overturned by VAR — declined to point to the spot and seemed to indicate de la Vega went down too easy.

A few minutes later, de la Vega had one more chance to put a cherry on top of his performance. As Cristian Roldan dribbled through the Fire defense and ran toward goal on what promised to be the final attacking sequence, de la Vega showed for the ball near the top of the penalty area. When Roldan chose to shoot, de la Vega crashed the weak side and was inches away from poking the rebound into the net only for Chris Mueller to clear the danger.

Whether they came off or not, the plays seemed to both hint at de la Vega’s potential and also illustrate his mindset: He’s not the type of player who is easily satisfied.

“As you probably saw, I left the field a little upset,” de la Vega told reporters through a translator after the game. “I have high expectations for my game and felt like I had some errors and was a little anxious. With more games and more minutes, I’ll get back to game shape and will improve. The most important thing is I have my teammates’ support and that will help me evolve my game.”

Although it has taken far longer to get to this point than either de la Vega or the Sounders had hoped, it does appear that he’s finally ready to progress toward becoming a regular contributor.

“I don’t have any specific timeframe for when I’ll feel 100%,” de la Vega said. “I’ve been taking my time and being professional with my training and taking care of myself. It’s just a matter of getting more minutes and to keep trying and trying. The next game is going to be better and the game after will be even better.”

Through 21 matches, de la Vega has only appeared in four games, started once and logged 119 minutes due to a series of hamstring injuries. His 15 minutes against the Fire marked his first playing time since May 18 and he’s only played twice since March 2. Unlike after his last two appearances, though, de la Vega was a full participant in Tuesday’s training session.

Although de la Vega remains on a relatively strict workload limit, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said the midfielder will continue to increase his minutes this week against the New England Revolution.

Perhaps more than any other single player, de la Vega offers the Sounders their highest upside potential. Without him, they’ve managed to claw their way back into the playoff race and are now just three points out of the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference. But to truly contend for a trophy, they will almost surely need de la Vega to be the player they thought they were signing when they paid a nearly $7 million transfer fee to acquire him this offseason.

In the frustratingly small sample size, he’s at least showing glimpses of being that player.

“He adds a different element,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “He’s a right-footed player who’s extremely direct, very powerful. He wants to get into the attack and can create something from nothing. He provides a different element. I’m excited to see him integrated and seeing what he can provide.”


  • After being unofficially suspended last week, both Nouhou and Raúl Ruidíaz were back in training on Tuesday and will be available for selection against the Revolution.
  • Sounders Academy player Etienne Veillard was named to the MLS Next All-Star Game. As of now, he’s the Sounders’ only representative at the event.