In a flash, Joao Paulo set the tone for his new Sounders squad.
The Brazilian was signed in January as Seattle’s third designated player, expected to play in the center midfield. Well, in Joao Paulo’s debut against CD Olimpia on Thursday, he did.
But he also showed how he could push forward and be dangerous, heading a goal home in the sixth minute of the CONCACAF Champions League matchup in Honduras. The shot to the back post helped Seattle finish in a 2-2 draw with Olimpia at Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula.
The Champions League is a 16-team, two-legged series tournament where away goals are the tiebreaker. Seattle will host Olimpia on Feb. 27 at CenturyLink Field.
“That was a hard game,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said via audio provided by the club.
The Sounders were missing midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro with a hamstring injury. Instead, Schmetzer inserted Joao Paulo at center midfield. Despite being touted for his defensive skill, Joao Paulo is a crafty scorer, too.
Sounders forward Jordan Morris provided an opportunity for Joao Paulo in the sixth minute after receiving a through ball from midfielder Joevin Jones. Morris deadened the ball as Joao Paulo sped to the box, receiving an airy pass to knock it in the net with his head.
Morris put the Sounders up 2-0 with a tap-in goal in the 54th on the rebound of a Jones attempt.
Forward Yustin Arboleda scored Olimpia’s goals.
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