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Sounders sign Brazilian João Paulo as designated player

January 31, 2020 GMT

SEATTLE (AP) — The defending MLS champion Seattle Sounders finally made a big offseason splash Friday by signing Brazilian midfielder João Paulo as their newest designated player.

The 28-year old joins the Sounders after a decade of playing in his native country with more than 300 appearances.

“João is a tactically excellent player who solves problems on the pitch, while his passing and set-piece service will help us be even more goal dangerous,” Seattle sporting director Chris Henderson said. “I had the opportunity to meet João in Brazil and witness firsthand his professionalism and character, which fit exactly what we stand for in Seattle.”

Paulo played eight seasons in Brazil’s topflight league and most recently spent the past three seasons with Botafogo. He played in 36 games and scored three goals during the 2019 season for Botafogo.

The Brazilian becomes the third designated player for Seattle, joining Nicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz. Seattle used targeted allocation money to lower the salary charge of defender Xavier Arreaga and open up a designated player slot.

Paulo’s addition helps soften the loss of playmaking midfielder Victor Rodriguez, who left the club after scoring the deciding goal in Seattle’s MLS Cup final win over Toronto.

“He gives us options in the midfield, as well as some more vertical passing options in the initial build up, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he fits in with the rest of the squad,” coach Brian Schmetzer said.