TUKWILA, Wash. – Four years to the day after the Seattle Sounders traded him to the Chicago Fire, Alvaro Fernandez is back in the Emerald City.
Seattle unveiled Fernandez as their latest summer addition on Thursday. The move marks the second acquisition of an Uruguayan midfielder in two days for the Sounders, who announced that they had signed Nicolas Lodeiro to a Designated Player contract on Wednesday.
Fernandez spoke with reporters following his first training session back with the club, and said that a return to Seattle has been in the back of his mind since his departure.
“There was an emotional side,” Fernandez said. “The moment that I left, I always wanted to come back. The opportunity is here and I want to do my best.”
The 30-year-old Fernandez also stated that he has had extensive dialogue with Lodeiro, who is a close friend of his, in the months leading up to the moves. Fernandez even gave glowing reviews to Lodeiro about the city and team.
"I gave strong recommendations to him. That it’s an excellent club, the fans are amazing, it’s a great organization," said Fernandez. "I recommended that he should come and we would have a good time here.”
Fernandez, better known to fans by his nickname "Flaco," spent the better part of three seasons with Seattle from 2010-12, scoring 13 goals in 55 appearances. In Chicago, he scored two goals and had one assist in 13 games during the latter half of the 2012 campaign.
Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey also discussed the move with the media on Thursday, saying that Fernandez’s familiarity with the team and Lodeiro's arrival were both factors that were taken into consideration.
“We want people to be comfortable,” Lagerwey said. “When they’re comfortable, they’re going to perform their best. Make no mistake, we think Flaco is a very good player independent of anything else. It’s not like we’re saying, ‘Hey, who’s Nico’s buddy? Let’s bring him in.’
"He’s here to play.”
Fernandez could now suit up in Seattle’s next game, which is a home match-up with the LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field on Sunday (4 pm ET, ESPN). And his arrival, like Lodeiro's, is more than welcomed by Seattle after they've struggled their way through about two-thirds of the season.
“Flaco’s a guy who knows the team, knows the city, knows the team, knows the culture,” Brad Evans said. “It’s a place that [both Fernandez and Lodeiro] want to be. It’s good, it brings in a little bit of flair, a little bit of technique, a little bit extra of something in the final third that maybe we’ve been lacking."