Seattle Sounders sign Peru forward Raul Ruidiaz as designated player
The Seattle Sounders completed the signing of Raul Ruidiaz on Friday, after the forward finished playing at the World Cup with Peru.
Ruidiaz's acquisition had been long anticipated, with the 27-year-old's previous club, Mexico's Morelia, announcing his departure to MLS two weeks ago. He will be able to make his MLS debut after the secondary transfer window opens on July 10..
Sources told ESPN Deportes this month that Morelia had accepted a transfer fee of $7.5 million -- quite large by MLS standards -- after no Mexican club made an offer for the 5-foot-7 attacker in the recent Liga MX draft.
The Sounders said Ruidiaz had signed a designated player contract. To make room for a third DP, Seattle used targeted allocation money to buy down the contract of Osvaldo Alonso, who is making $1.1 million this season.
Sources told ESPN Deportes earlier this month that Ruidiaz's contract would make him won of the top 10 best-paid players in MLS, putting his salary in excess of $2.4 million.
For Morelia, Ruidiaz scored 40 goals over two years in Liga MX, including the playoffs -- the second-highest scorer in the Mexican league in that timeframe.
He will be a welcome addition at the front of the Sounders attack after Jordan Morris was lost for the season with a knee injury. The Sounders have just 11 goals in 12 games, eight fewer than any other team in the league.
"We are very pleased to bring in a player of Raul's quality and add him to our current squad," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. "He has a strong resume as a goal-scorer in both Mexico and South America, so we're looking forward to seeing how that translates to MLS and helps our club succeed on the field."
Ruidiaz came off the bench in two of Peru's three games at the World Cup this month, featuring in 1-0 defeats to France and Denmark.
Internationally, Ruidiaz is best known for scoring the controversial goal in Peru's 1-0 win over Brazil in the group stage of the 2016 Copa America Centenario that knocked the Brazilians out of the competition and advanced Peru to the knockout round. Ruidiaz scored using his right hand to help direct a cross into the net but it was missed by officials.
Before moving to Mexico, Ruidiaz played in Peru for Universitario, Brazil for Coritiba and Chile for Universidad.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.