Seattle Sounders FC

Seattle Sounders midfielder Joao Paulo out for season with torn ACL

Chris Smith
Joao Paulo will be a big miss for the Sounders.
Joao Paulo will be a big miss for the Sounders. / Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night was one of joy and elation as the Seattle Sounders became the first MLS team to win the Concacaf Champions League, but victory did not come without a cost.

The Sounders picked up two injuries within the opening half-hour of the match. First, left-back Nouhou Tolo limped out with a thigh contusion, before key midfielder Joao Paulo was stretchered off with what appears to be a knee injury.

Nouhou was able to walk freely during the post-match celebrations and his status remains unclear. But Paulo was seen approaching the podium on crutches with bandaging around his right knee.

In a radio interview with 93.3 KJR FM, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer has confirmed his Brazilian midfielder has suffered a torn ACL, which will keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

"Unfortunately [an] ACL injury for J.P. and he's done for the year," Schmetzer said.

Given his talent and influence within the team, Paulo will be a huge loss to the Sounders. However, the Brazilian's replacement, Obed Vargas, conducted himself brilliantly.

At just 16 years old, the midfielder conducted himself brilliantly in the heat of a major final, completing 83% of his passes, making eight combined clearances and interceptions, and covering every blade of grass.

Safe to say Schmetzer was impressed by the teenager's maturity.

"The kid had played in some big games before, obviously not a final. I mean the games against Motagua when we first got him started and then he had a big performance against León of Mexico," Schmetzer said of Vargas, adding: "But this was a really pressure-packed game and you know, the kid did absolutely phenomenal. I mean, the occasion wasn't too big for him. He looked comfortable."

As they come down from their CCL high, the Sounders travel to FC Dallas on Saturday looking to kick-start their league form with just two wins from seven MLS matches so far this season.