The small country of Uruguay, with a population of just over 3.5 million is a soccer paradise, it has produced great players like Luis Suárez, Diego Forlán, and MLS great Nicolás Lodeiro. Today there are 10 players from Uruguay in MLS. Many of them have either played for the senior national team or youth national team set up.
Recent arrivals such as Rodrigo Piñeiro and Nicolás Acevedo are both under 23 years of age. Diego Rossi, the 2020 MLS Golden Boot winner, is by far one of the hottest young prospects playing in Major League Soccer.
While not always being represented by huge numbers, Uruguayans have played in every era of MLS. This season it will be a milestone for Uruguayan players as it will mark the highest number of Uruguayans to play in the league in a given season. Here are the top 7 Uruguayans to play in MLS!
7. Adrián Paz
The first Uruguayan signed by the league, Adrián Paz, played one season for the Columbus Crew and later two years with the Colorado Rapids. Paz was a quick and elegant winger that scored 12 goals in 80 games in MLS. Paz also scored a fantastic goal for the Rapids in the 2-1 MLS Cup defeat to DC United in 1997.
6. Cristian Techera
The little winger, Cristian Techera might not have been a big name, but he certainly surprised many with his finishing and hustle. 23 goals in 101 games for the Whitecaps, he was a pest for opposing defenders and was nicknamed “the bug”.
5. Vicente Sánchez
Vicente Sánchez came to MLS to be a role player and lead by experience. He took that and ran with it as Sánchez became a fan favorite at Colorado. 13 goals in 76 games in MLS his leadership was what you got, while in Houston his play was limited the Uruguayan’s best body of work was with the Rapids.
4. Álvaro Fernández
Álvaro Fernández was one of the first DPs in Seattle Sounders history, coming fresh off of Uruguay’s 2010 semifinal run in the World Cup. Flaco did not disappoint, 13 goals in 59 games, he was an integral part of the club’s two US Open Cups in 2010 and 2011. Fernández later went to the Fire where he was loaned out to various teams and in 2016 he returned to the Sounders to win the 2016 MLS Cup.
3. Diego Fagúndez
Diego Fagúndez is only 26, but he seems to have been around forever. Born in Montevideo, he and his family moved to Massachusetts when Diego was 5 years old. The homegrown talent made his big-league debut in 2011 and would play 261 games and score 53 goals for the Revs. Fagúndez was fantastic in the early part of his career drawing interest from clubs in Serie A and Spain. The last four years have been stagnant and Fagúndez was traded to Austin FC to revitalize what looked like a promising career.
2. Diego Rossi
The former Peñarol youth product has been nothing but money in MLS, 42 goals in 85 games, he has recently been called up to various Uruguay national team squads for World Cup Qualifiers. Diego Rossi looks to be the next big MLS outgoing transfer as LAFC want no less than $20 million for the exciting forward.
1. Nicolás Lodeiro
Nicolás Lodeiro is by far the greatest player to play in MLS from Uruguay. The former Nacional product came to MLS after a successful stint at Boca Juniors and immediately became a game changer for the Rave Green. Lodeiro has won 2 MLS Cups, is the team captain and one of the league's best midfielders. The only thing Sounders fans regret is that he did not play more with Clint Dempsey as they were forming a lethal one-two punch.