SEATTLE — Kelvin Leerdam scored a game-winning goal deep into second-half stoppage time, sending the Seattle Sounders to a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.
After a scoreless first half, the contest stayed locked in a scoreless draw through 96 minutes and looked destined to end as such until Leerdam buried the winner off a feed from left back Brad Smith.
Sounders midfielder Danny Leyva, making his first career MLS start, looked to have opened the scoring on the hour mark with a 30-yard lob after Whitecaps goalkeeper Zac MacMath came off his line to make a deflection save off a breakaway shot from Justin Dhillon. But the goal was waved off after Video Review by referee Alan Kelly after Dhillon was judged to have fouled MacMath during the shot, denying Leyva his first MLS goal and keeping the game scoreless, much to the chagrin of the home crowd.
Leerdam would ensure all three points, however, after collecting a feed from Smith and guiding it past MacMath and into the net, moving Seattle to 8-4-5 and 29 points through 17 matches on the season.
The Sounders now travel east for a two-match road swing at New York City on Wednesday, July 3 (4 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM), and Columbus Crew SC on Saturday, July 6 (4:30 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM). Seattle returns to CenturyLink Field on Sunday, July 14, for a clash against Atlanta United (12:55 p.m. PT; ESPN, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM | TICKETS).
ALMOST A DREAM DEBUT
Leyva was already making history on Saturday, becoming the third-youngest player to ever start an MLS match behind Freddy Adu and Alphonso Davies, and he almost made it a too-good-to-be-true inaugural start with the 60th-minute finish. Although it was disappointing to see the goal waved off, Leyva still put in a solid shift, looking very much like he belongs on an MLS field just a few weeks after his 16th birthday. Look for the youngster to stay in the mix for First Team minutes as the Sounders get back to MLS play.
LEERDAM KEEPS EATING
Leerdam just keeps on scoring. After bagging just one goal in his first 31 MLS appearances, the Dutch right back now has five in his last 15 to go along with two assists. Between Leerdam and Smith, who picked up his fifth assist on the goal, the Sounders fullbacks are certainly making their presence felt on the stat sheet thus far in 2019.
Before the game, the Sounders had a pregame ceremony honoring the legacy of Chad Marshall, who retired in May after a legendary 16-season MLS career. The stalwart center back contributed to all three major trophies during his time in Seattle, with a Supporters’ Shield, U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup to his name since his arrival in Rave Green. On Saturday, it was a fitting sendoff for one of the greatest defenders in league history, with a pre-kickoff highlight montage and, of course, a Whitney Houston soundtrack.