The opportunity to play in a cup final is always a special moment in any player’s career.
For Seattle Sounders midfielder Danny Leyva, Wednesday night’s Leagues Cup Final against Club León (7:00 p.m. PT; ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM) carries even more significance, as it’s his first opportunity to play a professional match in his hometown of Las Vegas, Nev.
“I think I might need a lot of tickets there,” Leyva joked after training on Monday.
Leyva, 18, is now in his third season as a member of the Seattle Sounders First Team. After breaking into the squad in 2019, the young Homegrown Player has already amassed 18 MLS regular season appearances this year, including seven starts.
First identified through the club’s expansive youth scouting apparatus, Leyva left Las Vegas when he was 13 years old to join the Sounders Academy. It was a difficult decision leave home at such a young age. Ultimately, he was swayed by the opportunity to develop develop and play professionally for one of the biggest clubs in MLS.
Wednesday’s Leagues Cup Final against Club León, one of the biggest clubs in Liga MX, is a bit surreal for the Vegas native.
“It’s something special,” said Leyva. “I’m a young kid from Las Vegas. Having all the fans and the family being able to go watch the game on Wednesday I think is going to be a unique opportunity, especially a final. It doesn’t happen often but it’s a special thing.”
It's easy to get caught up in the narratives and special circumstances surrounding Wednesday’s final. For Leyva and the rest of the squad, the focus is on shutting out all of the distractions and focusing on the task at hand.
“I think it’s an important match and a good opportunity for us to win some silverware for the club,” added Leyva. “It’s against a good opposition in León, who’ve been playing well in the Leagues Cup and the league as well. They’re a strong team. We’re going to need everyone. We’re just all excited to have this opportunity to play in a final.”
Leyva and the Sounders will head to Las Vegas on Tuesday before taking on Liga MX giants Club León at Allegiant Stadium on Wednesday.