Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro has won the 2016 MLS Newcomer of the Year award. The honor recognizes a player making his MLS debut while also having played professionally abroad. He is the third Seattle player to win the award in its ten year history.
Nicolas Lodeiro Named 2016 MLS Newcomer of the Year
Lodeiro joined the Sounders towards the end of July and made his debut with the team on July 31. At the time, Seattle was ninth in the Western Conference and looking like a sure bet to miss the playoffs. Since then, he has scored four goals and tallied eight assists in 13 starts with the team. Seattle rose to fourth place at season’s end and is now taking on Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference final beginning Tuesday night at CenturyLink Field.
Lodeiro arrived in Seattle after spending the previous season with Boca Juniors in Argentina. Before that, he had seen time with Corinthians and Botafogo in Brazil and Ajax in the Netherlands. He was on the last two Uruguayan World Cup squads, starting in two matches back in 2014.
Lodeiro won with almost 37% of the total vote between players, club executives, and members of the media. He beat out Columbus Crew forward Ola Kamara, LA Galaxy defender Jelle van Damme, and Colorado forward Skelshan Gashi for the honor.
Even though he played in less than half of Seattle’s games this season, there is no better recipient for this honor than Nicolas Lodeiro. He was a major factor in the dramatic turnaround of the Sounders season. He helped unlock the potential of rookie of the year Jordan Morris as he spearheaded what was once a disaster of an attack. He picked up the slack when Clint Dempsey’s season ended due to a heart condition. In fact, it was hardly noticeable that the American star was even missing.
He is the third Seattle Sounders player to win the award. Mauro Rosales won it back in 2011 and Fredy Montero also did in 2009.