With the first transfer window of the MLS season coming to an end on Tuesday evening, Seattle Sounders FC and General Manager Garth Lagerwey made two final-day signings to bolster the club as they head into the final two-thirds of the season.
In recent years, Rave Green supporters have gotten used to seeing the club focus on the Summer transfer window to bring in new players ahead of playoff runs that took the team to MLS Cups in 2016 and 2017 with a Championship in the former. 2019, however, is apparently quite different as the 5-1-4 Sounders look to climb back to the mountaintop they reached two and a half years ago.
The first of the two additions is Joevin Jones, a left back and winger for the Trinidad & Tobago National Team, who spent 2016 and 2017 in Seattle before heading to SV Darmstadt 98 in the German second division. With Darmstadt, Jones made 44 appearances, scoring six goals.
"We welcome the return of Joevin, as he comes back to Seattle with some good experience from his time in Germany," Sporting Director and Vice President of Soccer Chris Henderson said. "Joevin is a versatile left-footed player that initiates attacks through skillful technique and combinations. After having very good success as a setup man in his first stint in Seattle, we look forward to seeing him contribute again."
The second is new to Rave Green, Ecuadorian centerback Xavier Arreaga. The 24-year-old from Ecuadorian side Barcelona SC is Seattle's new third Designated Player, taking the place of Victor Rodriguez, who was bought down with Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). The acquisition of Jones was used with TAM.
"We have followed Xavier for some time in Ecuador and our scouting department has watched him live many times," Henderson said of the Ecuador National Team defender. "He is a cerebral defender and organizes the team from the back, in addition to being technically sound and comfortable with the ball at his feet. Xavier is also a proven leader, as shown by captaining his club side at the young age of 24."
Arreaga will now compete with current Seattle centerbacks Chad Marshall, Kim Kee-hee and Roman Torres for minutes both starting and on the bench. Jones can play at both the left back position, currently occupied by Brad Smith, on loan from Bournemouth, and left winger, currently Rodriguez's primary position.
For Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, having too many quality players at multiple positions is a good problem to have.
"As a coach, I appreciate the work and forward thinking our scouting department has done to identify a talented young centerback," Schmetzer said. "Acquiring players who fit the culture and ambitions of the club are always welcome...Joevin is a very talented left-back who can also play higher up the field, as well as a very good player who helped us win MLS Cup."
"We're constantly looking to improve our squad, and today we've brought in two players - a new face and a familiar face," Sounders FC General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey added. "We needed to get younger at the centerback position, and we think Xavier is a player who gives us a good long-term solution. Additionally, we wanted to give ourselves another versatile option in the attack, and Joevin is a player we know well and are confident can come in and help us right away."
Per the Sounders release, "both additions are pending receipt of the players' respective P-1 Visas and International Transfer Certificates." Check out highlight of Jones' time in Seattle below.