Just two appearances into his MLS tenure, Nicolas Lodeiro is already proving to be the latest heavyweight talent in a line of playmakers who have come to MLS from Argentina. A big part of Seattle’s 3-1 win over Orlando last Sunday, he becomes the third former Boca Juniors player to currently ply his trade successfully here.
He joins DC United’s Luciano Acosta, currently on loan from Boca Juniors, and Real Salt Lake’s Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez. And as it turns out, before he arrived on US shores, Lodeiro reached out to Martinez for his opinion on MLS, asking, ostensibly, for a friend.
“He asked me how it is for another guy, but he has a lot of friends who are playing in MLS,” Martinez said this week after Real Salt Lake training. “He is a really good player. I used to play with him and now I'm going to play against him.”
Burrito and Acosta played together at Boca Juniors in 2014, while Lodeiro came in for 2015, as Burrito came to MLS during last year’s summer transfer window.
There are few similarities to be found, Martinez said, between their former league and their current one. “It's very different,” he said. “The people in the stadium and the way they play is very different.”
For all those differences, though, the skill needed to be successful in Argentina certainly translate to MLS. Lodeiro only needed one game to get up to speed with his new teammates before he contributed to Clint Dempsey’s hat trick against Orlando in a big way.
Burrito, meanwhile, has also contributed to Real Salt Lake, big-time, scoring six goals and making two assists so far this season. RSL head coach Jeff Cassar even claimed Burrito has helped rejuvenate fellow Argentine Javier Morales, thanks to their similar backgrounds.