Leo Chu Sider Cover

When the Seattle Sounders signed Leó Chú this summer, they knew he was going to be a building block for the future. The 21-year-old attacker joined from Brazilian giants Grêmio with massive potential.

Seattle also knew that Chú would need to contribute for the rest of 2021, as the club navigates a heavy fixture load in a condensed season because of COVID-19. He made his Sounders debut on Sept. 14, an eight-minute cameo in a Leagues Cup Semifinals match against Liga MX’s Santos Laguna in which he assisted Raúl Ruidíaz for the match-winner in stoppage time.

Then on Wednesday in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, Chú made his MLS debut with a 45-minute substitute appearance where he was able to showcase the talent that the Sounders had been expecting.

“I thought he came in and did well for us,” said midfielder Kelyn Rowe. “We needed someone to stretch that line…He’s more of a winger than anything, so we were able to find him and have him holding the ball up, laying it off and spinning, or you saw a few times when Fredy [Montero] was able to hold the ball up, we were able to play him in behind.”

Chú brings a ton of pace to the side, something the Sounders have been missing while Jordan Morris recovers from his torn ACL. But Chú also brings a willingness to learn and defer to veterans like his countryman João Paulo, who was seen giving instructions when the two entered together at halftime, that will serve him, and the Sounders, well.

“Fredy Montero did a really good job helping Leo with the expectations of the club,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “Leó is a very, very gifted attacking player, I think you guys saw that. He was this close to coming away with an assist or a goal. What he has to understand, and what I was actually very impressed with, was he understood his defensive responsibilities…He’s been listening to what we want out of that position. He was very good tonight, I was impressed.”

The Sounders just finished a six-matches-in-19-days run to end September and have an equally busy October with six more crucial matches on the horizon. Chú will likely make his first start somewhere in that stretch, and the team is excited for the different elements of his game that he brings to the pitch.

“You also saw [Chú] track back a few times and get his foot in to at least disrupt San Jose going forward,” said Rowe. “He had a very good performance and hopefully he can build on that because with the long season that we have and the amount of games that we have shoved into this schedule in quick succession, we’re going to need everyone on the field.”

Chú and the Sounders return to action on Sunday as they host the Colorado Rapids (7:00 p.m. PT; FOX 13+, Prime Video, 1090 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS) at Lumen Field in a meeting between two of the top sides in the Western Conference.

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