Who is Nicolás Lodeiro? Glad you asked. Hey, what’s up, it’s Hoff. Each week I’m going to bring you a breakdown of someone from the MLS. This segment is called “Who’s this dude?” and it’s going to get REAL. 

Nicolás Lodeiro – Seattle Sounders Midfielder

Remember that show Who’s line is it Anyway? There was a bunch of middle aged British guys making corny boob jokes. Barely watchable but you could suffer through it during a sick day off from school. And then Drew Carey brought the show stateside and made Wayne Brady a regular. Singing, dancing, high-end boob jokes, megawatt smiles followed by sly winks. Who’s Line is it Anyway? was now “Who’d dare miss this diabolical laugh-fest?”

Fast forward to halfway through the 2016/17 season and Seattle is near the bottom of the table. Their main issue? No Wayne Brady. Obafemi Martins departed for the Chinese Superleague and bottomless moo shu pork. Clint Dempsey spent half the games at summer camp with Alejandro Bedoya and Geoff Cameron. But you can never count Seattle out, you know why? They have the ultimate ratings card up their sleeve. DREW CAREY. Bet you forgot that he’s one of four owners of the Sounders. He even has his own owner page. Next thing we know Nicky Lodeiro shows up, flashes a smile and starts singing showtunes. Overnight the Sounders are infinitely more watchable. I might be wildly simplifying the means of Lodeiro’s arrival, but so what, this is entertainment. If you want to be bored go here. So who is this mysterious maker of through-balls who has instantly made Seattle about 1000 times better? I’ll fill you in…

Full Name: Marcelo Nicolás Lodeiro Benítez, 27 years of age. Now that’s a name.

Country of Origin: URUGUAY. He’s from a city called Paysandu. It’s as close as you can possibly get to Argentina and only the Uruguay River separates the two countries. I think when baby Messi was brought as a child to the Uruguay River to be blessed by the river people, he breathed his sweet golden breath on the town of Paysandu and Lodeiro smelled it and became sick at soccer. It’s science.

Defining Feature: Wide jaw, thick neck, hair that doesn’t give a damn. This guy has NAILED the sport-mullet hair styles in his short career. Here’s a few:

“Can I get stringy mullet, hint of sass please?”

“You want a mullet? You’re the boss…”

He’s really only got two hair cuts, mullet and the recent no-mullet. But I like his style. No nonsense. This is all neck. This isn’t your fancy instagram selfie obsessed twenty something. This guy has two instagram posts. Not accounts, posts. 100k+ followers. 2 posts. If you can’t get behind that I’m not sure you’re alive.

Playing Career: Growing up in Uruguay, Nico kicked around some youth clubs until landing at Uruguayan powerhouse Nacional at the age of 18 in 2007. There, he led his squad to the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores in 2009 (the champions league of South American clubs). His performances there earned him a call from famed club Ajax in the dutch premier division alongside fellow Uruguayan Luis Suarez. After an injury during the World Cup kept him out of the squad for a full year, he came back in 2012 and helped the club to win their league. From there he bounced to Brazilian club Botafogo, where he got over 40 appearances, then down the road to Corinthians where he barely played for a year, and finally landing at Argentine superclub Boca Juniors at the prime young age of 26. He wasn’t there long, only one season, but he had a good little run there. Here’s a bangin’ highlight reel complete with obligatory Calvin Harris jam soundtrack.

Honestly though you should watch this highlight reel produced by the Sounders simply for the epic space jam riffs and the spanish announcers:

His international experience is actually quite impressive for his age as well and ties nicely into his somewhat unfortunate claim to fame. He’s got 48 caps for Uruguay’s senior team, as far back as the 2010 World cup. He was part of the 2011 Copa America winning Uruguayan squad and played in the 2014 World Cup as well. He travelled to the USA for the 2016 Copa America, though that result was not very good for the squad. His claim to fame is that he was the first dude sent off for a redcard in the 2010 World Cup. Whoops!

Alright it’s time to get into why Seattle fans are JAZZED UP™ about this guy. As of when this article was published, he’s been with the Sounders for three games, and has 3 assists, 1 goal, and 2 secondary assists. Meaning he’s been involved in all six of the goals scored by the Sounders during those games. He is very good at creating chances, and it’s paid off big time already. Just ask Jordan Morris. With Lodeiro dropping passes behind the defense like he’s placing presents under the Christmas tree, Morris is able to run behind the defense faster than you can say “lives at home with his parents still” and tear into those delightfully sneaky presents. JMoSmooth is able to play the kind of game that made him a star at Stanford, and it’s a massive addition for Seattle. Here’s a quick example of the kind of stuff I’m talking about.

I’ll leave you with this, and I think this speaks to the type of dude Seattle’s picked up here. When he took his cleat off after scoring a beauty, his first goal for Seattle, this past week, he was questioned as to what that meant. Typically this kind of thing is reserved for hot-headed egomaniacs miming calling their agent, etc. Here’s what Nico had to say, via MLSSoccer.com:

“The call is something I had with my father…I played in Uruguay in Montevideo and he wasn’t always able to come to my games. A phone call was all we really had to connect us and really talk about the results on the field.” What a beauty. Goal below. – Hoff