GUADALAJARA, Mexico — For an evening that will be long remembered for injuries – Will Bruin and Chad Marshall exited with knocks in the first half, while Nicolás Lodeiro, Osvaldo Alonso, Jordan Morris and Víctor Rodríguez didn’t make the trip – the 3-0 loss at Chivas in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals had a shining bright spot: Kelvin Leerdam is back.
The 27-year-old defender has been out for the past several weeks due to an ankle injury suffered at training during the preseason. Jordan McCrary, who was signed to a First Team contract after a successful preseason trial, has been his primary replacement, while midfielder Jordy Delem also filled in.
However, it was evident that there was a gaping hole that couldn’t fill Leerdam’s experience and versatility on the pitch. On Wednesday evening, he came in for midfielder Henry WIngo for the final 10 minutes of the match.
“It’s good to be back with the team,” Leerdam said after his season debut. “I am happy to be back playing with the guys.”
With a healthy Leerdam, the Sounders should see a noticeable improvement right away. The Suriname native joined the Sounders last July, appearing in 20 MLS contests, including each match of the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. The Sounders allowed just 10 goals in his appearances.
He aims to be even better in his first full season with the club.
“I am looking forward to it,” Leerdam said during the preseason in January. “We need to show everybody that what we achieved in the Western Conference is something we worked really hard for, so hopefully we go on the same run and win everything.”
The 2018 campaign has already proved to be challenging in the early stages due to the amount of injuries that continue to stack up. With Leerdam’s return, though, the situation may slowly be getting better.
“We must go on, it’s a long season,” Leerdam said. “We'll try to dominate Sunday. That’s the goal now.”
The Sounders return to MLS action on Sunday afternoon at FC Dallas (2 p.m. PT; JOEtv, Univision-Seattle, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).