Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro was named the MLS Newcomer of the Year Monday. The signing of the 27-year old from Argentina’s Boca Juniors revitalized the Sounders in the wake of coach Sigi Schmid’s firing, helping the club go 8-2-4 down the stretch of the regular season and reach the Western Conference finals.
Lodeiro’s arrival immediately paid dividends. The Uruguayan notched a goal or assist in eight of his first nine games. Lodeiro finished the regular season with four goals and a club-best eight assists, adding three more goals in the postseason.
Lodeiro had 36.7 percent of the overall vote, which consults members of the media, players and club executives. Ola Kamara of the Columbus Crew (21.9 percent), Jelle Van Damme of the LA Galaxy (12.5 percent), and Shkelzen Gashi of the Colorado Rapids (9.8 percent) were the other finalists.
Lodeiro is the third Sounder to win the award. Fredy Montero won the award during the team’s first season in the league in 2009, and Mauro Rosales received the award in 2011.
Klinsmann fired as USMNT coach
Jurgen Klinsmann was fired as the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team, U.S. Soccer announced Monday. Klinsmann had come under fire after the U.S. lost its first two World Cup qualifiers to Mexico and Costa Rica.
Sunil Gulati, president of U.S. Soccer, made a statement addressing Klinsmann’s departure.
“We want to thank Jurgen for his hard work and commitment during these last five years,” Gulati said. “He took pride in having the responsibility of steering the program, and there were considerable achievements along the way.
“While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction. With the next qualifying match in late March, we have several months to refocus the group and determine the best way forward to ensure a successful journey to qualify for our eighth consecutive World Cup.”
There has been speculation that Bruce Arena, coach of the LA Galaxy, may be tapped to fill the head coaching position with the national team. Arena led USMNT to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, a position that it has not reached since.