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Sounders midfielder Joao Paulo (ACL) out for season

Apr 23, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; Seattle Sounders midfielder Joao Paulo (6) passes during the first half against the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Sounders midfielder Joao Paulo will miss the rest of the season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament in the team’s CONCACAF Champions League final on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old was a finalist for league MVP last season and named to the MLS Best XI team.

On Wednesday, he was subbed out in the 29th minute of the game, in which the Sounders defeated Liga MX side Pumas UNAM 3-0 in Seattle to build a 5-2 aggregate scoring lead and win their first CCL title.

Obed Vargas, a 16-year-old from Alaska, replaced Joao Paulo.

“He stepped in and performed — the kid played pretty damn well. Happy to have a good deep squad,” coach Brian Schmetzer said of Vargas, per The Seattle Times. “That is what’s required to win a tournament like this and to compete in MLS.”

Joao Paulo, a 31-year-old from Brazil, is in his third season with the Sounders. In six games this season, he scored one goal and added one assist.

In 56 games (51 starts) with the Sounders, he has six goals and 17 assists.

–Field Level Media