The Seattle Sounders have lost their key midfielder Joao Paulo for the remainder of the 2022 MLS season. The news was confirmed by the team’s head coach Brian Schmetzer, who told reporters on Thursday that Paulo is dealing with a torn ACL.
Paulo suffered the injury in the first half of Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League finals game against Pumas UNAM. The Sounders ended up winning the match to become the first MLS team to lift the CCL trophy.
Joao Paulo joined the Sounders on loan from Brazilian side Botafogo in 2020 and quickly became one of the club’s most important players. Seattle made the deal permanent ahead of the 2021 season, in which Paulo would go on to become an MLS MVP finalist, MLS All-Star, and part of the league’s Best XI team. The 31-year-old player scored six goals and dished 17 assists since coming to MLS, including a goal and assist apiece in six games this season.
The absence of Paulo will certainly be a tough blow for the Sounders as they look to improve their performances in the MLS. Despite having a great run in CCL, Seattle is currently sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference. They only have two wins out of seven games in 2022 and are already 15 points behind the leaders LAFC.