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Miguel Ibarra officially signs with Sounders

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MLS veteran will be eligible for tonight’s CCL match.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Miguel Ibarra has officially joined the Seattle Sounders and will be eligible to play in tonight’s Concacaf Champions League match against Olimpia, the team announced.

“We are excited to welcome an experienced and versatile player like Miguel to the squad,” General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a team release. “His skillset gives us another good option in the attack as we prepare to start the 2020 campaign.”

Ibarra, 29, had spent the last three seasons with Minnesota United in MLS and had previously played four seasons with the Loons during their NASL days. In October 2014, Ibarra became the first lower-division player since 2005 to earn a United States national team call-up and won three caps, including one start. Following his success in the NASL, he was transferred to Liga MX’s Leon and played parts of two seasons, but made just seven appearances.

During his MLS career, Ibarra has mostly played as a wide midfielder but has occasionally been deployed as a No. 10. Although he’s not enjoyed the consistent success he had at the NASL level — which included a MVP award in 2014 and two Best XI selecxtions — he did contribute seven goals and eight assists in 2018. He slumped quite a bit last year, however, with just one goal and two assists in about 1,500 minutes. All were career lows for him.

While the production levels suggest a significant decline, it’s notable that Ibarra’s xG+xA per 90 did not fall off nearly as much. In his breakout 2018, Ibarra averaged .41 xG+xA per 90 minutes. Last season, it was .30 while completing a higher percentage of his long passes.

After making more than $500,000 according to MLS Players Association records, Minnesota declined his option. He was not selected in any of the re-entry drafts and was likely acquired via waivers by the Sounders. He had been on trial with the Sounders for the last couple weeks.