The defeat of the Seattle Sounders FC to LAFC in the 2023 Audi MLS Cup Western Conference semifinal was not just a bitter farewell from the competition for the team but possibly the final chapter in the history of one of the club’s icons, Nicolás Lodeiro.
The Uruguayan maestro, a key piece since his arrival in 2016, had previously announced that the 2023 season would be his last in Seattle. His desire to capture another trophy before departing did not materialize, marking a melancholic end to a era of success and dedication.
At 34, Lodeiro has crafted an impressive trajectory, producing 80 assists in 191 regular-season games and scoring 41 goals since his arrival from Boca Juniors. His contribution goes beyond statistics, including two MLS Cups (2016 and 2019) and a historic Concacaf Champions League title (2022).
However, as with every great story, the time for farewell arrives. The player, without a contract this winter, expressed sadness not only for the defeat but for the possibility of having played his last game in front of the passionate fans and in the vibrant city of Seattle.
Coach Brian Schmetzer, aware of the inevitability of changes, reflects on the match and acknowledges the difficulty of saying goodbye to players who have left an indelible mark on the club. The list of names includes Zach Scott, Kasey Keller, Clint Dempsey, Román Torres, Ozzie Alonso, and now, possibly, Nicolás Lodeiro.
As the Sounders face a crucial offseason, Lodeiro’s departure symbolizes not only the farewell of a talented player but also the beginning of a new era. Schmetzer highlights the change in the team’s style of play during the 2023 season, emphasizing pride in the success achieved despite the defeat in the final stretch.
Uncertainty about Lodeiro’s future hangs in the air, as the player plans to continue his career but without specifying whether it will be in the MLS or abroad. The city of Seattle and Sounders fans now await who will fill the void left by this Uruguayan football icon.
While the sadness of the defeat lingers, Schmetzer’s message about the inevitability of change resonates. The club is destined to continue, to discover new talents, to evolve. The page is turning, and the Sounders are gearing up for a new phase, thanking Lodeiro for his invaluable contribution and wishing him success in his next chapters, wherever destiny may take him.