Léo Chú came into Saturday’s 4-1 win over Sporting Kansas City with four career MLS assists in 37 matches since joining on a U22 Initiative deal from Brazilian giants Grêmio in summer 2021. Still just 22, he’s had to bide his time and wait for his opportunity.
On Saturday, with six Seattle Sounders players away on international duty and normal left winger Jordan Morris starting at the No. 9, Chú got his chance. And by the time the match ended, he had equaled his career total with four assists, playing a part in every one of Morris’ four goals and setting a club record for most assists in a single match.
“We’ve been waiting for a performance like that from him for a long time,” Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said of Chú. “Credit to the kid’s preseason, his renewed mentality.”
It’s understandably taken Chú time to settle in and adjust, not just to a new team, but a completely different country, climate and language. The plan was never for him to be a difference-maker immediately, but the club knows his potential and understands just how valuable a player he can continue to develop into on the wing.
“[Schmetzer] told me, ‘Leo, your time is coming,’” Chú said. “I’m working hard every day, so that when the opportunity comes, I will be ready. I was ready for this game.”
Chú had three primary assists and was credited with a fourth for a secondary assist on the Sounders’ third goal. He played a ball to Nicolás Lodeiro, who found Morris at the back post.
The Sounders have had some serious distributors in its 15-year MLS history with the likes of Clint Dempsey, Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans and Lodeiro, the club’s all-time assist leader. But none of them ever accomplished what Chú did this weekend.
“Life has been changing constantly,” said Chú. “After seven months not starting a match, this was very good. I’m glad that I could help the team and hopefully this is a restart where I can keep adding and keep contributing to the team.”
Chú and the Sounders will head to southern California to take on the LA Galaxy next Saturday (4:30 p.m. PT; FOX, Watch for free on the Apple TV app) looking to build on their strong performance in Kansas City. Although Seattle will have some of its reinforcements back, the opportunities for playing time will still be aplenty this season, and Chú plans on making the most of them.
“When the coaches put me in the game, everyone knows that I can help,” he said. “It was a good game, but that was just the beginning. More things are coming.”