TUKWILA, Wash. — Kelvin Leerdam ended last season with no goals and fives assists. That’s not a bad haul for a fullback, but it’s a mark that he’s currently on pace to obliterate, at least in terms of goals scored. So far, Leerdam has scored twice in only three matches, and if not for a questionable-at-best offside call that went against him in the in the Chicago match, he would have scored his third.
While averaging nearly a goal a match would be an eye-popping stat for any fullback, even early in a season, Leerdam’s numbers are all the more impressive for the fact that he’s still only in the beginning stages of a budding on-field relationship with his new partner down the right, Jordan Morris.
“Jordan is a threat for every fullback in this league, so that can make my job easier, because nobody wants to be beaten by him down the line, especially with his speed,” Leerdam said. “But I think [the relationship] can be better. We’re building on it.”
Specifically, Leerdam noted that the finer details of the duo’s outside back/winger chemistry could use fine tuning.
“Defensively where he needs to stand, combination wise if we want to play short, and things like that, we still need to find that out. But you won’t hear me complain about how it’s going right now. He’s scored three and had an assist. His start is good, and hopefully he can build on it.”
Leerdam’s comments are lockstep in mentality with the rest of the team, who have consistently maintained that there is room for improvement as a group, despite the season’s impressive start. In particular, head coach Brian Schmetzer has emphasized wanting to improve the team’s ability to control tempo and protect leads deep into matches. If Morris and Leerdam can become more comfortable with each other’s movements both on and off the ball, the Sounders could find more success closing matches out with better possession and defensive shape.
Beyond improving his chemistry with Morris, Leerdam would like to see the team grow by getting even more players on the score sheet moving forward.
“For me it doesn’t matter who scores,” Leerdam said. “We have four or five goal scorers now. Hopefully we can build it out to like 12, then we’ll be great.”
For his part, Leerdam sees his own scoring hot-streak as further motivation to push himself and his teammates moving forward.
“It gives you a good feeling,” he said. “Unfortunately [the Chicago goal] was offside… but we’ll keep going. I want more. The team wants more.”