Heavy Heart Image

With a Heavy Heart

When Leo Gonzalez started the match against New York on Thursday, his heart was with his fallen friend and former teammate, Dennis Marshall.

Hours before making his first start since May 25, Leo Gonzalez received some difficult news on Thursday afternoon when he learned that Costa Rican National Team defender Dennis Marshall died in a car accident.   His former teammate with CS Herediano and Costa Rica had only days earlier scored his first international goal for Costa Rica in a 1-1 draw with Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and on Thursday, while driving with his girlfriend on a Costa Rican highway died in a head-on collision on the Braulio Carillo highway in Costa Rica.

“It is just a surprise and a very sad moment, especially after he just played with the National Team a couple of days ago and scored a goal,” Gonzalez said.  “All of the country is very concerned and surprised and sad at the loss of a good friend.”

Gonzalez and Marshall played together with Costa Rica and CS Herediano in 2008-2009 before Gonzalez joined the Sounders FC.

Although it was difficult for Gonzalez to cope with the emotions of losing a friend, there was never hesitation to play in the match.  He assisted on what proved to be the game-winning goal when he sent a corner kick to the near post for a Roger Levesque header in the 67th minute.

“I am of course very sad, but I needed to concentrate on the game and playing for the team.  Even though I had my mind on the game, I was still sad about that moment,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez and Marshall grew particularly close in their season together with Herediano and their time training and playing internationally.  They both had experience playing left back, so were frequently paired together in workouts.

“We played very similar positions, so we had a nice friendship out of that,” he said.  “It’s unfortunate because he was doing very well - he was playing well for the National Team and playing in Europe.  Unfortunately the only thing left is to give condolences to the family and hope that they can get through this difficult time.”

Marshall was 25 years old and had 19 caps with Costa Rica.  On Saturday, he scored his first international goal in a 1-1 draw with Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.  According to reports, he was traveling from his grandfather’s funeral.  He was expected to return to Denmark on July 3 to rejoin his Danish club side Aalborg.