Seattle adds versatile Uruguayan as third DP

[MLS] Seattle filled its allotment of three Designated Players Thursday by announcing it has signed Uruguayan World Cup midfielder Alvaro Fernandez, though the status of its first DP has yet to be resolved.

Fernandez, 24, played four games for Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup and has arrived from Chilean club Universidad de Chile, which apparently believes he’s not needed in its Copa Libertadores campaign. Universidad tied Mexican club Guadalajara, 1-1, Wednesday in the first leg of the semifinals and plays the second leg next week.

He will be eligible to play for Seattle when his international transfer certificate is processed. His four World Cup appearances give him 11 international caps, and Coach Sigi Schmid some flexibility in a midfield lacking DP No. 1, Freddie Ljungberg, who hasn’t trained with the team for weeks and is seeking his next destination.

"Alvaro is a versatile player who can play in a number of midfield positions,” Schmid said in a statement released by the team. “He brings good energy to the game as well as World Cup experience. He can score and also set up others.”

Steve Zakuani often lines up at left mid for Seattle, but the right side has been unsettled and there’s also been some inconsistency in the middle. Holding mid Oswaldo Alonso suffered a quadriceps injury in early May and has missed seven games, and Brad Evans has also been injured when not filling in other positions.

Said Fernandez in a statement, “My goals are always the same whenever I join a team: try to help, on and off the field; help the club achieve its goals; and, obviously, win championships. I believe I can contribute through my experience. I describe myself as a fast, smooth player, who can play on either flank. I am strong in the air, and I work very hard.”

The team’s second Designated Player, Swiss striker Blaise Nkufo, debuted against Glasgow Celtic in a friendly July 18 and made his first MLS appearance Sunday in a 2-1 win over Colorado.

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