In the crazy, fast-moving world of Nicolas Lodeiro, a 46-day break away from soccer is plenty to get a lot of personal things accomplished.
And he did. Consider:
▪ By his own admission, Lodeiro was able to “rest quite a bit” after going virtually non-stop between two professional leagues for 18 consecutive months — ending with the Seattle Sounders’ MLS Cup championship in December.
▪ He wed his longtime girlfriend, Micaela, back in his native Uruguay. The couple did not have a honeymoon.
▪ He was able to spend plenty of warm days at one of his favorite places — the beach.
“Truthfully, I was tired at the end. It was a long season — a long year,” the 28-year-old midfielder said. “The most important thing was I was able to rest with my family … and come back with lots of energy to do good things (with the Sounders) again.”
It was such a stressful run between his time with Argentinian club Boca Juniors and the Sounders, whom he signed with July 27 for the stretch run of the MLS season, Lodeiro was given an extra three days until he had to report to Seattle’s preseason camp.
“That is the challenge of guys who come in midway through an (MLS) season — it becomes an 18-month season,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “We understood that. Couple that with the fact the kid actually works really, super hard … so it was all good.”
Lodeiro came to Starfire Sports on Friday morning. He immediately was put through some of the team’s fitness tests and by 11 a.m., he was on the field scrimmaging with players such as Clint Dempsey, Cristian Roldan and Osvaldo Alonso.
There was a noticeable uptick in live-work intensity with Lodeiro on the field, too.
“Everybody watched training today,” Schmetzer said. “Ozzy joined in when he wasn’t supposed to because his buddy was back.”
Schmetzer said the club will continue to monitor Lodeiro’s work rate and fitness as the next few weeks unfold. If the Sounders’ newest star needs a day to himself, he will get it, the coach added.
Lodeiro does not anticipate that to be the case at all.
“(The break) was plenty long enough,” Lodeiro said. “I had the desire to get back to training. I needed it.”
There has been a familiar face in preseason camp this week — former Sounders forward Steve Zakuani, who was with the club from 2009-2013, scoring 17 goals in 80 matches. His last season in the MLS was with Portland in 2014. “Obviously we’ve seen him at his best. You almost have to put that out of your head of what he was,” Schmetzer said. “He would tell me if he doesn’t think he can do it anymore, and I would tell him if I don’t think he can do it anymore.” …
Schmetzer anticipates taking up to 33 players to the next phase of preseason camp in Tucson, Arizona. The coach called that the “tactical phase” of camp where players will start being placed in their positions. The team departs for Arizona on Sunday morning. …
Forward Jordan Morris and defenders Brad Evans and Chad Marshall continue to be away with the U.S. men’s national team. Schmetzer does not anticipate any of them joining the Sounders in Arizona. … Alonso (knee) has been held out of some activity this week. He is still having issues from the same injury he suffered during the MLS playoffs.