ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 4, 2024) – Orlando City SC and midfielder Nico Lodeiro have agreed to a new contract, signing the Uruguayan through the 2024 season with an option for 2025, it was announced today. Lodeiro joins the Lions via free agency, following one of the most successful tenures in MLS history with Seattle Sounders FC.
“We are thrilled to have Nico join us here in Orlando. He is a player we are very familiar with and feel fits perfectly within the style of soccer we want to play,” said Orlando City EVP of Soccer Operations and General Manager Luiz Muzzi. “He is a proven winner in this league, lifting the MLS Cup twice and winning the Concacaf Champions League, so he knows what it takes. We know he’ll provide valuable experience and leadership to our locker room as we look to build upon our Club’s successes this season. We are very happy to have been able to sign Nico and can’t wait to get him out on the field with us.”
Since joining MLS in 2016 from Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors, Lodeiro has been one of the most impactful players in the league during his time with the Sounders. Over his eight seasons in Seattle, he made 231 appearances, scored 58 goals and recorded 95 assists across all competitions. He helped the Sounders add to their trophy case, lifting the MLS Cup in both 2016 and 2019, as well as a historic Concacaf Champions League title in 2022, with his side becoming the first MLS club to win the modern version of the tournament.
Lodeiro has totaled double-digit assists in six of his eight seasons with the Sounders, most recently hitting the mark in 2022 with 11 helpers to go along with seven goals. He became just the fifth player in MLS history to record six or more seasons with at least 10 assists. He is also the Sounders’ all-time leader in assists across all competitions, a record he broke in 2018.
In the 2022 season, Lodeiro started six matches during the Sounders’ historic title run in the Concacaf Champions League tournament. He finished second in the competition with five goals, including one that came in the ninth minute of stoppage time, which served as the latest goal in club history across all competitions. Later on that year, Lodeiro scored the second-fastest goal in club history just 24 seconds into a match against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Lodeiro’s MLS career began in 2016, playing a key role in the Sounders’ turnaround and leading the club to their first MLS Cup title. After joining the team in late July, Lodeiro tallied four goals and eight assists in 13 regular season appearances, going on to be named MLS Newcomer of the Year. In the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs, he scored four goals, including the game-winning goal in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship, and converted his spot kick in the penalty-kick shootout during the MLS Cup Final.
The 2018 season was a historic one for Lodeiro as he not only set the Sounders’ single season record with 16 assists during the regular season, but he also became the club’s all-time leader in career assists.
Captaining Seattle to its second MLS Cup title and third championship appearance in his fourth MLS season in 2019, Lodeiro finished the regular season with eight goals and a team-leading 12 assists which ranked tied for seventh in the MLS. In 2020, Lodeiro was earned him MLS Best XI honors and was named a finalist for the Landon Donovan MVP Award after leading the league with 10 assists.
Prior to joining the Sounders, Lodeiro played in four countries and dressed for two of the world’s most storied franchises, Dutch side Ajax and Argentine side Boca Juniors. He began his professional career with Uruguayan club Nacional before signing with Ajax at 20 years old. He would also have stints with Brazilian-based teams Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas and Sport Club Corinthians Paulista before joining Boca Juniors, a place he where he helped his squad earn a domestic double as Boca Juniors topped Rosario Central in the 2015 Copa Argentina Final, in addition to finishing first in the Primera Division.
On an international level, Lodeiro has represented Uruguay in two FIFA World Cups, in South Africa in 2010 and later in Brazil in 2014. He was also a member of the Uruguayan squad that claimed the Copa America trophy in 2011. A native of Paysandú, Uruguay, also represented his nation in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
TRANSACTION: Orlando City signs midfielder Nico Lodeiro through 2024, with an option for the 2025 season.
Nico Lodeiro (neeko lo-DARE-oh)
Born: March 21, 1989
Hometown: Paysandú, Uruguay
Citizenship: USA / URU