In the first 1,029 minutes of Léo Chú’s Major League Soccer tenure with the Seattle Sounders, he had one career goal and four assists.
Chú’s play over the past two weeks has been a revelation, helping the Sounders to back-to-back road wins and finally demonstrating the production that Seattle hoped to receive when it purchased him as a U22 Initiative signing from Brazil’s Grêmio in 2021. After a four-assist performance that earned him MLS Team of the Matchday honors last week, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer granted him another start, and he delivered yet again.
“He had another strong performance,” Schmetzer said of Chú. “I’m going to try and reward the players who do well.”
Part of Chú’s recent dominance has been his combination play with Jordan Morris, who leads the early MLS Golden Boot race with eight goals through six matches. Chú, who has been operating in Morris’ usual left wing role while Morris plays at forward, has assisted on all of Morris’ past five goals, including the opener at the Galaxy on Saturday.
“I’ve been fortunate to be the beneficiary of some really good build-up play with some really good balls from Léo and Nico [Lodeiro],” said Morris. “Playing as the No. 9, trying to get into the right spot, trying to be dangerous in front of goal. I’m feeling really good.”
Chú is bursting with confidence at the moment. His goal from outside the box on Saturday, which doubled the Sounders’ lead and ultimately proved to be the match-winner, was emblematic of a player who is thriving on the pitch.
The success that Chú and Morris are having demonstrates the depth of talent on the squad and affords some tactical flexibility for Schmetzer, who also has the über-talented Raúl Ruidíaz and Héber available as forward options. Chú, for his part, is intent on continuing to prove he belongs in the Starting XI.
“I’m very happy,” said Chú.” I’ve been putting the work in during the week. I’ve been preparing for this moment, and it’s very important to get this type of sequence.
“It’s always great when you’re playing with other players who have strong quality,” he continued. “It’s been good that I’ve been finding Jordan often. This partnership is working really well. The team is very strong, so I believe that the partnership can also work when we have Héber or Raúl [at forward].”
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Pressure is something familiar to Chú, and he admitted his initial transition to the Sounders and life in the United States was a difficult one. But he’s finally feeling settled and will soon welcome the birth of his child, as his on-field success begins to match his off-field contentment.
“When I get on the pitch, I only want to think about playing and enjoying,” he said. “I’m not worrying about [getting] chances or [not getting] chances, I just want to be able to play.”
The Sounders end Matchday 6 in second place in the Western Conference with 13 points (4-1-1). This sits up a gargantuan clash at Lumen Field next Saturday night (7:30 p.m. PT; Watch free on Apple TV | TICKETS) when Seattle hosts expansion side St. Louis CITY SC, who are the early Supporters’ Shield-leaders with 15 points. After starting the season with a historic 5-0-0 record, CITY fell 1-0 to Minnesota United this weekend and will be heading to Seattle looking to rebound.
Whether Chú gets the nod next Saturday with Ruidíaz, who returned from international duty with Peru, having a full training week ahead of him remains to be seen. But the Sounders know they will need Chú, and these recent performances, throughout the season as they push to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“The confidence for a player is very important,” Chú said. “When you have confidence, you can play well, you can play free. I’m getting better every game.”