Seattle Sounders address depth with two signings as the summer transfer deadline closes

The Seattle Sounders wrapped up the MLS summer transfer deadline by announcing two signings, picking up Argentine midfielder Emanuel Cecchini and midfielder/forward Luis Silva just before the Wednesday night 10 p.m. deadline.

Cecchini, 22, will occupy an international slot and is on loan from Spanish club Malaga. His loan will cover the rest of this season and the entire 2020 season, too. Silva, 30, has spent eight seasons in the MLS with Toronto FC, D.C. United and most recently Real Salt Lake in 2018. This season, he’s been playing for Finnish club Honka FC where he scored three goals in 13 appearances.

Cecchini was in training for the first time on Thursday while Silvia is expected to arrive on Friday.

Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey feels the two newest signings add to a roster that he feels can compete with anybody in the league.

“We got four guys signed this window,” Lagerwey said. “Justin Dhillon, Brad Smith, Cecchini, and Luis Silva. We’ve signed seven guys in the last 100 days; Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, Joevin Jones, and Javier Arreaga. We’ve been really busy from a transaction standpoint so if you look at how we started, we have a pretty good group.”

The Sounders have been able to display their depth at times but recent rashes of injuries and players going on international duty have tested them.

Locked in a three-way tie for second in Western Conference with Minnesota United and San Jose, Lagerwey wanted to bolster the roster for the second half of the season.

“Now you add seven players to what we really feel like we’ve addressed the depth piece over the last period of signings. There some objective quantification that this is a pretty good team, as good as you can build in MLS,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement but we believe in these guys. The biggest thing we can do down the stretch is get guys healthy, if we can do that then we can beat anybody.”

Cecchini, attached to Malaga CF in La Liga’s second division, has been on loan to two other teams (Club Leon in Mexico and Banfield in Argentina). Before arriving in Spain, the Argentine had a successful run with Banfield where he made 27 appearances in the 2016-17 season scoring four goals.

What interested him in the move to Seattle was the friendships that he had formed with some of the other South Americans on the squad: Nico Lodeiro, Raul Ruidiaz and Victor Rodriguez.

“The truth is, I know some of the players and I heard about the team and the city as well,” Cecchini said.

Cecchini’s addition to the team gives Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer some variety and flexibility in what he can do at the defensive midfielder and possible center back.

“He’s played well at that position,” Schmetzer said. “I would prefer to keep him in the midfield role but if need be, if things don’t shake out with Kim (Kee-Hee) and Javier (Arreaga) then yeah. You know me by now, I like to close games with five on the back line so that is a possibility that more minutes for players could come there.”

Silva is expected in training on Friday and it is possible he could play against New England on Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

“We just feel that he’s an experienced MLS forward,” Schmetzer said. “It helps us, god forbid we run into another injury bug, we have a player that has some experience.”