Heber signed by a Chinese first division club

Héber had a great start at Seattle Sounders, but the end of the season was not the best.
Jun 24, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Sounders forward Heber (19) applauds fans after
Jun 24, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Sounders forward Heber (19) applauds fans after / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Heber's contract with the Seattle Sounders could have been extended until the end of 2024, but the club chose not to do so. As a result, the Brazilian forward became a free agent and joined Cangzhou Mighty Lions in the Chinese Super League with a 2-year contract.

Promising start at Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders signed Héber Araújo in December 2022 to bolster the team that would participate in the Club World Cup in Morocco in February 2023. His arrival created a lot of excitement among the supporters. Many thought that the Brazilian would be a "better option" than Will Bruin who was Raul Ruidiaz's understudy from 2019 to 2022.

The Brazilian debuted for the Sounders in the stoppage time of the Club World Cup match against Al Ahly. However, due to Ruidiaz's injury before the beginning of the Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season, the number 19 got the chance to start in the first two games of the team in the tournament.

The Brazilian netted his first goal for the Rave Green in the first round, scoring the team's third goal in the 4-0 victory over Colorado Rapids.

Héber scored his second goal to seal the 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake at Lumen Field in the second round. The Brazilian forward has had an impressive start to his Seattle career.

Injury and goal drought

Héber scored a goal in each of the first two games, but then he got injured and sat out the next three games. Meanwhile, Ruidiaz had healed from his injury and reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup. He was benched in the sixth game and only played for a few minutes in the second half of the following game.

After Ruidiaz suffered another injury in late April, Héber started five consecutive games, but he could not find the net. He did manage to provide an assist in the fifth game, helping his team to a victory at Austin FC.

From April to July, the striker got the chance to play, starting or subbing in, in 15 straight games, but he could not score a goal. This streak appeared to exhaust the patience of coach Brian Schmetzer and disappoint the fans, who had high hopes after a great start.

Few opportunities at the end of the season

Héber had a disappointing end to the regular season. He only started twice in the final third and was substituted early in the second half both times. He barely played any minutes and remained on the bench for the last five games, including four playoff matches and the final regular season game.

Out of 25 games in the season, he started 12 of them, scoring only two goals and making one assist, in a total of 1,103 minutes on the field. He went from a promising debut to being sidelined at the end of the season.

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