Seattle Sounders FC: Kelvin Leerdam isn’t close to being satisfied

Kelvin Leerdam Sounders

Editorial (March 10, 2019) — With powerful attacking players like Raúl Ruidíaz, Cristian Roldan, Victor Rodriguez and Nicolas Lodeiro, you’d think one of them would find the net to begin the Seattle Sounders FC season.

However, that’s not the case.

Seattle Sounders FC: Kelvin Leerdam isn’t close to being satisfied

Kelvin Leerdam, a right back defender and winger, scored the first goal of the 2019 season for Seattle last weekend. Against FC Cincinnati, Leerdam smacked a goal off a rebound into Cincinnati’s net. However, that wasn’t the only match where he opened the floodgates.

Saturday night, Leerdam found another rebound at his feet. There was no hesitation as he smashed it past Tim Howard. The shot came form the top of the penalty box.

Make that two goals in two games for Leerdam, a right back defender. However, this is nothing new for him. After the match, Leerdam expressed to the media that he’s always had a knack for supplying goals. He also mentioned that getting fit has helped his goal scoring abilities.

“You always try to give your team more,” Leerdam said. “When you feel that your body isn’t right, that sticks in the back of your head. But, I’m happy. My family is here now and I feel good.”

It’s not just scoring goals — although that helps!

Leerdam has every right to feel good. Not only is he scoring goals, but he’s having a good start with his defensive skills. On the opposite side of him, there has been open competition for the starting right back spot. While Nouhou remains on the bench, Brad Smith has taken over the starting job.

Meanwhile, Leerdam is the uncontested starter on the right. He’s formed a good relationship with his centerback pairing, too. Kim Kee-hee and Leerdam have been roommates on the road for the past year. Meanwhile, Chad Marshall and Leerdam have been playing together since 2017.

As a winger, Leerdam isn’t afraid to get involved with the attacking plays. However, it’s easy to get lost within the large collective of attack-minded players on Seattle’s roster. The return of Jordan Morris has boosted the team and a healthy Rodriguez is a solid player. In the last seven matches, Ruidíaz has scored a goal.

It’s every defenders job to focus on their defensive duties first. Seattle hasn’t faced too much pressure this season. Although, there were flashes of playmaking from FC Cincinnati’s Fanendo Adi and Colorado’s Kei Kamara, it wasn’t enough to get past the defense. Leerdam is essentially a veteran on that defense. He and Marshall are the two longest-tenured on the defense.

Throw in Roman Torres, as well, and there’s a boatload of veteran leadership. Also, when Torres enters the play, that gives Leerdam more space to move up to the attack. When Torres entered the match against Colorado, he switched the defense to a three-man centerback backline.

Meanwhile, Smith and Leerdam roamed up top.

Kelvin’s sudden spark helps everybody

Wingers are some of the most important players on a soccer roster.

They are meant to be fast players, who, just like central and defensive midfielders, carry a lot of space on the pitch. They run around, cause havoc on defense and create plays on offense. What Leerdam does well is time his runs in the attack. He patiently waits for the ball on the right side.

It helps that he sends in good crosses, too.

This sudden spark of Leerdam’s talents helps everyone on the Sounders roster. Defenders are a lot like goalkeepers, in the sense that they can see the majority of the action in front of them. It’s unlikely that you won’t find a winger that’s constantly communicating.

Leerdam doesn’t even know the same language as Kim Kee-hee, but he’s still always talking to him. That’s just how important wingers are to the rest of the team. However, the sudden leadership of Leerdam, and the sudden exposure to scoring, doesn’t effect Leerdam. Just like everything else, he takes it in stride.

“I just do what the game gives me,” Leerdam said. “On the pitch, you make the decisions. If I make a mistake, I’m responsible for that. But, if you get goals like that, the coach is going to give you a shoulder tap because it puts us in front.”

While Leerdam will take the goals, he is aiming for clean sheets. He got his wish on Saturday with a 2-0 victory against Colorado.

“When you keep the zero, you give your team a chance to win,” Leerdam said. “That’s the most important thing for me today. We kept the zero and we put ourselves in a position to win the game. That’s where it starts.”

What’s Next?

Seattle will take on the Chicago Fire at SeekGeek Stadium on Saturday. Kick off is slated for 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. Chicago has kicked off their MLS season with a loss against the LA Galaxy and a draw against Orlando City SC.

PHOTO: Kelvin Leerdam of the Seattle Sounders FC celebrates his goal against the Colorado Rapids with teammate Kim Kee-hee on Saturday, March 9. Leerdam has two goals in two games for Seattle. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Wasson/Seattle Sounders FC.