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Léo Chú provides breakout performance in supporting role

Brazilian set a club record with four assists, including three primaries.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Kansas City William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

The performance of Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris will get most of the spotlight, but the contributions of Léo Chú deserve a prominent place on the marquee.

Morris’ four-goal haul wouldn’t have been possible without Chú’s three direct assists. And thanks to a bit of forgiving MLS accounting crediting him with an assist on the third Morris goal, Chú is officially the Sounders’ record-holder with four assists in a match.

The 4-1 dismantling of Sporting Kansas City was important for any number of reasons, not the least of which was the performance of Chú, who head coach Brian Schmetzer acknowledged was something the Sounders have been waiting for. To be sure, Chú has shown glimpses in his previous appearances with the team, but this was something different.

“Léo Chú, obviously, we’ve been waiting for a performance like that for him for a long time,” Schmetzer said. “Credit to the kid’s preseason, his renewed mentality.”

With a long-established core, finding consistent playing time for Chú has been difficult. And the adjustment from Brazil to the United States can be difficult for young players. But the patience of the Sounders and willingness of Chú to bide his time appears to be paying off.

“I had some difficulties so many months without starting a match,” said Chu, whose last start was in August. “I’ve been working every day and it’s a process. I moved to a new country [and] switched to a new language.”

“Life has been changing constantly. After seven months without starting a match, this was very good. I was glad that I could help the team. And hopefully this is a restart where I can keep adding and keep contributing to the team.”

One of the things Schmetzer said he’ll continue to work with Chú on are his defensive responsibilities.

“He had a really good performance in attack, but there will be some things we will watch tape with him and watch film with him,” Schmetzer said. “He was concerned about Graham Zusi because we had told him that Graham was such a tremendous player. So he was almost man-for-man marking him, which we didn’t want. So we’ll work with him on some of the tactics.”

Chú said adjusting to new defensive responsibilities was one of the bigger on-field adjustments for him when he first arrived in Seattle, but that he believes he better understands what Schmetzer and the Sounders need from him.

“When I first arrived here, the coach [said] ‘you need to be defensive’ and now I think I’m better than when I arrived,” Chú said. “It was a good game but this was just the beginning. I have more things coming.”

Off the field, Chú said he is more settled, and that contributed to his renewed mentality this preseason.

“This year, I’m really happy to be here,” Chu said. “I have new friends I have my wife and my kid coming. If your life is OK, everything comes good”

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