SEATTLE -- Seattle Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro hasn't been bad in 2017. Often, he's been quite good.
Asked to rate his season to this point, Lodeiro gave himself an "ocho" (eight out of 10). If that feels generous, or overinflated by how settled he feels off the field -- the Lodeiros have bought a house out near Cougar Mountain in the eastern suburbs, and his little boy likes his new preschool -- it is not that far off.
Lodeiro's year has been underwhelming only in contrast to the one...
TORONTO, Canada -- Nicolas Lodeiro doesn't necessarily look like the studious sort. On the field, he runs about at a frenetic pace, as if his hyper-drive is permanently engaged. Yet there is very much a method to the apparent madness of "King Nico."
Lodeiro studies everything.
Before joining the Seattle Sounders from Argentine side Boca Juniors, he watched the Sounders' 10 previous games to get a better sense of his new team and the league. During the Copa America, he brought his family with...
The 2016 MLS Cup marquee barely has room for all of the names that deserve a place of prominence on it. Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders bring a wealth of talent to the game, thanks in large part to the willingness of their respective owners to spend big money in the quest for a title.
But the names aren't on the metaphorical marquee just because they're highly paid. These two teams have stars who have delivered, both in the regular season and throughout the playoffs. Nearly every player who...
After 340 regular-season games and 16 playoff games, the 2016 MLS campaign has one match remaining, as Toronto FC hosts Seattle on Saturday, in the first MLS Cup without an original MLS franchise.
Both Toronto and Seattle are obviously riding hot streaks and hot players into the final. Seattle has ridden the Nicolas Lodeiro train to BMO Field, while TFC has followed the net-bursting form of Jozy Altidore.
Here's a look at the numbers behind the recent runs of Lodeiro and Altidore, plus what ESPN's Soccer Power Index says about Saturday's final matchup:
The Lodeiro/Schmetzer effect
Seattle is attempting to become the fourth MLS champion (and second in a row) without a player on the MLS Best XI for that season, though Nicolas Lodeiro might have cracked the list had he played the entire season. He had four goals and eight assists in 13 regular-season games, and has since added four goals in five playoffs games.
With Saturday's MLS Cup tilt between the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC now just days away, ESPN FC takes a look at five reasons why Seattle will take home the championship.
1. Lodeiro leads the way
He has only been in Major League Soccer for a few months, but Nicolas Lodeiro has quickly risen to the top as one of the league's best players. The Uruguayan playmaker sets Seattle's table and his inch-perfect crosses into the area will pose problems for the Toronto FC defense. There is no denying the...