The firsts keep on coming for Leó Chú.
The 21-year-old Brazilian summer signing scored his first goal for the Seattle Sounders on Saturday in a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps and continues to impress as a weapon in Head Coach Brian Schmetzer’s attack.
Chú iced the match in the 90th minute when he combined on a give-and-go with Fredy Montero and finished confidently for an extra insurance tally in a match that clinched the Sounders’ 13th consecutive postseason berth.
“I was very, very happy,” said Chú. “I felt the energy of the fans cheering for me. I feel that step by step I’m improving and adapting to the style of play of the club.”
Chú stepped up in a massive way, especially in the absence of five internationals including attacking options Raúl Ruidíaz and Cristian Roldan. He has a strong feel for the game for a young player and is continuing to grow into his role on the squad, something that will be important for not only the stretch run this season but for years to come.
“My expectations for Leó are pretty simple: that he works for the team, that he plays for his teammates,” said Schmetzer. “He’s a young player that has tremendous pace, good speed, he can go forward, he can combine his little give-and-gos, all of those little nuances. That helped him, that helped us have some success in the game. He’s a young kid who’s come on and done well, but longer term, our expectations as a coaching staff are that he works, knows how to defend in how we want to defend, but that doesn’t take away from what he possesses, which is a very good attacking mentality.”
Chú and the Sounders now turn their attention to wrapping up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and securing home field advantage. They hold a five-point lead over Sporting Kansas City and are locked in on achieving that objective with six matches remaining.
“What’s different about this team is the camaraderie in the locker room,” said forward Will Bruin. “When we’re on the training pitch, we put it in and everybody competes to make everybody else better. Everybody wants to start, everybody wants to play, but it’s earned on the training field, and the camaraderie off the training field and in the locker room, this team is one of the best I’ve been on. This speaks volumes of the professionalism inside the locker room and also the quality that we have.”
The Sounders will continue that quest next Saturday when they visit the Houston Dynamo at PNC Stadium (5:30 p.m. PT; FOX 13+, Prime Video, El Rey 1360AM). And whether Chú comes off the bench again or makes his first club start, he’s eager to contribute to the team in any way he can.
“[Making the playoffs] is one of the reasons why I came here,” said Chú. “We’re building the history of the club, and I want to place my name in the history of the club.”