TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
In a separate earlier transaction, the Loons traded for the top spot in the waiver order as well as two fourth-round picks in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, while sending a second-round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft and the fourth spot in the waiver order to Orlando City.
Minnesota's interest in Alonso was previously reported by MLSsoccer.com's Sam Stejskal, who also reported that the Loons beat out expansion side FC Cincinnati to sign the Cuban defensive midfielder. A source told MLSsoccer.com that the deal is for two years and Targeted Allocation Money will be used in the transaction.
Alonso joins the Loons after 10 years with the Sounders. During his 10 seasons in Seattle, Alonso featured in 277 regular-season games, with 10 goals and 24 assists, plus 25 playoff games, where he scored three more goals. He helped the Sounders win MLS Cup in 2016, in addition to serving as captain and helping capture U.S. Open Cup titles in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014, and a Supporters' Shield in 2014.
On an individual level, Alonso is a four-time MLS All-Star and was named to the MLS Best XI in 2012.
“We’ve just added a great leader and a warrior to our roster,” said MNUFC Sporting Director Manny Lagos in a team statement. “It’ll be nice to have him on the field playing for us rather than against us. He’s going to come in and complement and develop our midfield core. He has high expectations for this club and this season. We believe he will add leadership, steel and grit, and will continue to mold a winning mentality on and off the field.”
Last season, Alonso started 21 games in 25 appearances, registering three assists as the Sounders' second-half surge carried them all the way to second place in the Western Conference. Alonso went all 210 minutes as the Sounders were eliminated on penalty kicks in a thrilling two-legged series with the Portland Timbers.
“We are bringing in one of the best, most competitive and tenacious defensive midfielders in the league,” said MNUFC head coach Adrian Heath. “The first thing we heard when speaking with players, front office staff and coaches about Ozzie was that he is a leader, he won’t accept losing. As we move into Allianz Field we know we need to be better and we are bringing in a player that can help us achieve our goals on the field and someone who can help develop a mentality with our players in the locker room. ”
The Sounders brass was effusive in their praise for Alonso, who was the last player that had remained continuously with the Sounders since their expansion season in 2009.
"In more than 40 years of Sounders history, very few players have been as memorable and impactful as Ozzie Alonso," said Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer in a team statement. "An MLS original with our club, his transition from USL player to first team captain has been a remarkable journey to observe, and I am proud of all that Ozzie accomplished within our club. After a decade with this organization and six major championships, all I can say is thank you."
Said head coach Brian Schmetzer: "We have seen many great players that have played for our club, but none have had as much influence as Osvaldo Alonso. His drive and determination to win was evident from the first day of training, his first game, and continued throughout all of the successful years he had with Sounders FC. I feel fortunate to have been able to coach such a tremendous player. We watched his game evolve, his influence grow to where he eventually led us as captain to our first MLS Cup. I want to personally thank him for his play for the last 10 years. We will miss 'El Corazon.'"
Minnesota will kick off the 2019 season on March 2 at Vancouver, and will open their brand-new stadium, Allianz Field, on April 13 against NYCFC. The Sounders, meanwhile, will begin their quest for an 11th consecutive playoff berth when they host Cincinnati on later on March 2.