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Seattle Sounders add Colombian defender Yeimar Gomez Andrade

The 27-year-old Colombian has played professionally in Argentina for the last six years

SANTA FE, ARGENTINA - MARCH 01: Mauro Zarate of Boca Juniors fights for the ball with Yeimar Gomez Andrade of Union during a match between Union and Boca Juniors as part of Superliga 2018/19 at Estadio 15 de abril on March 1, 2019 in Santa Fe, Argentina. (Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

Seattle Sounders FC bolstered their defensive ranks Wednesday by purchasing Colombian central defender Yeimar Gomez Andrade from Unión de Santa Fe.

The Sounders used targeted allocation money to buy down a portion of Andrade’s salary. He will take up an international slot.

The 27-year-old has played professionally in Argentina for the last six years. He represented the likes of Unión de Santa Fe (2017-20), Independiente Rivadavia (2016-17) and Rosario Central (2012-16). Also capable playing left back, Andrade went on loan twice to Tio Federal (2013-14) and Arsenal Futbol Club (2016) during his time with Rosario Central.

“We are excited to announce the signing of Yeimar, who brings a wealth of athleticism and experience to a position of need for us,” Sounders general manager and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a prepared statement.

Andrade is the 14th player Seattle signed using TAM and the club’s second international transfer this offseason, joining Brazilian midfielder Joao Paulo, who was purchased from Botafogo Jan. 31.

“Combined with João Paulo, we’ve now added a pair of key offseason pieces that puts our roster in a good spot as the season approaches,” Lagerway added.

Andrade made 64 starts with Union de Santa Fe. He had 156 appearances across all competitions during his time in Argentina.

The 6-foot-1 defender will be one of five South Americans on the roster. He joins Joao Paulo, defender Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador), midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay), and forward Raul Ruidiaz (Peru).

“I had the chance to scout Yeimar a couple of times in Argentina for Unión de Santa Fe and he had dominant performances at central defender,” added VP of soccer and sporting director Chris Henderson. “He reads the game well and is a strong one-on-one defender. He anticipates and intercepts balls in transition from defense to attack and is very fast. We are excited to see him in a Sounders FC jersey marking attacking players out of the game.”

Andrade will join Seattle in Mexico City in the coming days as the club finishes its final leg of preseason. Seattle opens its competitive slate Feb. 20 with a visit to C.D. Olimpia in the Concacaf Champions League. The MLS regular season kicks off March 1 at CenturyLink Field against Chicago Fire FC.

“We are pleased to add a strong, experienced defender to the club,” Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Yeimar fits the profile we were looking for and we have confidence that he can make a positive impact us. We look forward to having him join us for our preseason preparations and seeing how he fits with our squad.”

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