TUKWILA — The Sounders announced Thursday that they have acquired center midfielder Emanuel Cecchini via loan, and signed forward/midfielder Luis Silva.
The deals were finalized before the close of the FIFA secondary transfer window Wednesday night. Cecchini played for Malaga CF’s second tier in Spain. Silva most recently played for FC Honka’s first-tier club in Finland.
Both players offer depth after forward Will Bruin suffered a season-ending knee injury and other players manage various injuries that make lineups inconsistent. Cecchini arrived Monday and participated in practice on Thursday at the club’s Starfire Sports facility in Tukwila.
Both additions are pending receipt of the players’ respective P-1 Visas and International Transfer Certificates.
“It’s helpful,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Silva is a youthful piece and Cecchini looked pretty good out there today (and) is another critical piece so I can try and find a consistent lineup for, hopefully, the last bit of the year once we get every back.”
Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) was used to acquire Cecchini. According to Spanish publication Malaga Hoy, the loan is through the 2020 MLS season, and the Sounders had to pay a $154,000 fee. Seattle will carry Cecchini’s full salary of approximately $1.4 million, and at the conclusion of the loan the Sounders have the option to buy half of the player’s rights.
Cecchini, 22, made three appearances, tallying 96 minutes, since joining Malaga CF in 2017. The Argentinean will occupy an international roster spot once available to play. His status as an international player would put the Sounders over the MLS limit of eight.
The club would either have to make a trade by the league deadline of Aug. 30 to unload one of its current international players or purchase another club’s rights to an international spot. That price can range from $50,000 to $250,000.
“I’ve been following the league for some time and I hope to be able to adapt,” said Cecchini via a translation from Spanish. He added that watching and knowing some of Seattle’s Latin players like Raul Ruidiaz (Peru), Nico Lodeiro (Uruguay), and Victor Rodriguez (Spain) give him confidence in a smooth transition to a new country.
Cecchini didn’t have a positive experience in Spain. Chris Henderson, the Sounders vice president of soccer and sporting director, said the situation isn’t alarming based on evaluations in person and talks with those involved.
“The situation with the club was difficult,” Cecchini said. “I’ve played defensive midfield and closer to goal. I feel comfortable at both positions.”
The deal for Silva, 30, was presented and negotiated within the past week, according to Sounders general manager and president Garth Lagerwey. Silva, a native Angeleno, most recently played in MLS for Real Salt Lake in 2018. He totaled 12 goals and three assists in two seasons with RSL. He’s won a U.S. Open Cup and championships in Mexico and Canada. His deal is approximately $342,000, according to the website transfermarkt.us.
Silva helps the Sounders develop versatility in addition to depth. His addition along with Cecchini also ensure the team’s distribution of playing minutes don’t hinder the positive growth of Danny Leyva, a 16-year-old midfielder.
Since May, the Sounders have signed seven players, including three TAM-level players and one Designated Player. The other signings were Tacoma Defiance forward Justin Dhillon and extending the loan of Australian fullback Brad Smith from his English Primer League club, AFC Bournemouth.
“We’ve been really busy from a transactions standpoint,” Lagerwey said. “It’s one of the things, for example, (in the loss) against LAFC, some of those matchups weren’t great for us in terms of the midfield. Now we can set up in a different way, specific to them and maybe it’s different every week.”
Seattle (11-7-5) hosts the New England Revolution (9-9-6) on Saturday at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders have lost consecutive home matches, to Portland and Sporting Kansas City, and haven’t lost three home games in a row since 2016.
“Our whole focus now is can we get our best players on the field,” Lagerwey said. “If we do that, we think we can beat anybody.”