4. Joao Paulo
So far so good for Joao Paulo who took just six minutes to mark his competitive debut with a goal, the quickest ever for a Sounders’ player in their first appearance. However, one goal (and game) does not make a career.
There is no doubt that there will be a lot of pressure on Paulo to perform and justify himself as the club’s third designated player. However, this is the man the Sounders had been chasing for quite a while and it’s a positive sign that he also wanted to come to Seattle.
The early indications are certainly promising, in respect of the Brazilian’s performance in the CONCACAF Champions League, as well as preseason action. His array of passing and accuracy has been there for all to see. It also helps that Paulo is versatile, capable of playing in a variety of positions and still perform at a high level. Consider the Champions League game against Olimpia, where he started off taking the place of the absent Lodeiro just behind the main striker, before dropping into the number eight position in central midfield. And this is all without playing in defensive midfield, where he is equally well versed.
Before joining the Sounders, Paulo had played more than 300 career games in Brazil, mostly at the top level. Fans and critics alike will now wait to see how his play translates to MLS. The early signs are very positive, but he must prove to be consistent throughout the season.