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Sounders sign Brazilian midfielder Joao Paulo for final DP spot

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The Seattle Sounders announced on Friday they have acquired Brazilian midfielder Joao Paulo from Botafogo, making him the third Designated Player on their roster.

Paulo, 28, is a central midfielder who has spent his entire career in Brazil, making 36 appearances for the Rio de Janeiro side last season.

"We are pleased to announce Joao Paulo, a talented and versatile player that brings a lot of experience to our club," Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey said in a club statement. "His signing adds a strong piece to an already talented roster, and we're excited about the way our team is taking shape as the season approaches."

Paulo takes over the MLS Cup champions' final DP spot, alongside Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro and Peruvian star Raul Ruidiaz.

Seattled also announced they have loaned midfielder Emanuel Cecchini to Argentine club Union de Sante Fe until the end of 2020.

The Sounders kick off their 2020 season on February 20 against Olimpia in the CONCACAF Champions League, and begin their MLS title defense against the Chicago Fire.

Botafogo later announced on Friday they had acquired veteran Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda on a free transfer. Honda's last club was Vitesse in the Netherlands. He also played for CSKA Moscow, AC Milan and Mexico's Pachuca.

Honda is considered one of Japan's most successful players, having played in the last three World Cups. He scored 37 goals in 98 matches with the national team.