Star midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro hasn’t been with the Seattle Sounders during the club’s preseason preparations and won’t join the defending MLS Cup champions on a flight to Mexico City Thursday for the second leg of the club’s preseason preparations.
Lodeiro’s absence opened eyes among reporters, but head coach Brian Schmetzer said its because Lodeiro is in his native Uruguay being treated for tendonitis. He is expected to rendezvous with the Sounders in Mexico.
“Yes, I know his whereabouts,” Schmetzer told reporters Tuesday. “[Tendonitis] has been a lingering issue. He had it toward the end of last year.
“We always try and pull out all the stops as far as getting people prepared for the season,” Schmetzer added. “Nico wants to make sure he’s 100 percent for the start of the season.”
Since joining the Sounders midway through the 2016 campaign, Lodeiro has recorded 26 goals and 48 assists. While the 30-year-old is a pivotal part of the team’s attack and was a centerpiece of its 2016 and 2019 MLS Cup victories, Schmetzer isn’t looking for anyone to attempt to fill Lodeiro’s place during preseason.
“When Nico’s not on the field, it’s been ‘do what you do.’ We don’t need anyone to compensate for Nico, because it’d be a pretty big challenge,” Schmetzer said. “You lose a player, certainly an influential player, but I don’t need other guys to overthink this and overcompensate. We have a bunch of good players on the squad and if they play up to their potential, we’ll be OK.”
The Sounders start their competitive schedule Feb. 20 when they visit Honduran side C.D. Olimpia in the Concacaf Champions League and open the MLS regular season March 1 at CenturyLink Field against Chicago Fire FC.