The chances of Victor Rodriguez returning to the Seattle Sounders seemed unlikely ever since it was announced that his option was not picked up for 2020, but the Spaniard made it all but official in a Instagram post on Monday.
In addition to thanking fans, coaches, administrators and teammates, Rodriguez also cited family as the main reason for his decision.
“It’s hard to say goodbye when you’ve had so much love, but the family is always first and the most important for me!” he wrote.
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After a few weeks of the MLS Cup the tough moment to say goodbye is here. But also THANKS, thanks to the @soundersfc community, to administrative, medical and coach staff, obviusly my teammates and our fans off course! Thank you for making me enjoy our football and thanks a lot for your love these two and half years. It’s hard to say goodbye when you’ve had so much love, but the familiy is always first and the most important for me! Astrid Judit and I will always be Seattle we will always be Sounders!
Although nothing has yet been announced, Rodriguez has indicated he wanted to return to Spain after spending the last two-and-a-half-seasons with the Sounders. Rodriguez’s daughter has apparently been very sick since she was born and he’s said he wants to be closer to family.
While it’s a perfectly understandable decision from a personal perspective, it does leave a rather significant roster hole for the Sounders to fill. Despite only playing about 40 percent of potential minutes since his arrival, Rodriguez was very productive when he was on the field. Rodriguez averaged .64 goals+assists per 90 minutes, which included two goals and three assists in nine MLS playoff appearances. He’ll likely be most fondly remembered for his MLS Cup MVP-winning performance in his last Sounders appearance.
The Sounders have been pretty consistent in saying that they don’t expect to sign his replacement immediately, suggesting they prefer to wait until there’s more clarity with the next collective bargaining agreement with the MLS Players’ Union. The current agreement is scheduled to expire on Jan. 31, 2020, which is nearly three weeks after training camp is scheduled to open.
As such, rumors about a new offensive signing have been sparse, though Matt Doyle suggested on a recent episode of ExtraTime Radio that Uruguay international Brian Lozano would be a good fit. Lozano is coming off a nine-goal, seven-assist campaign for Liga MX’s Santos Laguna and is rumored to coming to MLS. Initial reports had suggested Los Angeles FC was the team pursuing him, but that was shot down.
If the Sounders don’t sign a Rodriguez replacement before they’re scheduled to start Concacaf Champions League play on Feb. 19-20, they’d likely be looking at the prospect of starting Joevin Jones at left mid and Nouhou at left back. Jones started all four 2019 playoff games and had four assists in about 1,200 minutes in his return to the Sounders.