Major League Soccer

Sounders-Fire Preview

Kelvin Leerdam played in 29 games for the Seattle Sounders last year, logging over 2,000 minutes and scoring exactly zero goals.

In two games this season, the right back has already scored twice.

The Dutch national and his Sounders will look to continue their red-hot start in their first road game of the season when they face the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

Seattle has jumped out to a 2-0-0 start with two decisive home victories - a 4-1 thumping of expansion FC Cincinnati to open the season and last week's 2-0 win over Colorado - for a league-leading plus-5 goal differential. Leerdam's dream start has been a microcosm of the team's young season.

Both of his tallies have been the product of good fortune, finding loose balls amid scrambles in the box, but Leerdam isn't apologizing for the opportunism.

"It's the development of the situation. It just happened that way and I was there. You just hope the ball falls in your area," Leerdam said. "Sometimes it happens and you're lucky and sometimes you're not. Maybe the next time my shot gets blocked. Hopefully we keep creating chances and scoring goals."

Brian Schmetzer's squad pounced on a dazed Colorado side last weekend, scoring twice in the first eight minutes. The second goal came from Raul Ruidiaz, who is on a remarkable scoring streak by finding the back of the net in seven straight MLS games dating back to last season and scoring 10 times in that stretch.

"Our play was great in the first 10 minutes, but it's still early," Schmetzer said after the win against the Rapids. "It's the second game in. The attacking movements are always the hardest thing to do. In soccer, goals are the hardest to come by."

Seattle has a chance to put together a dominant start, with just three of its first 13 matches against 2018 playoff teams.

One of those teams trying to break into the playoff picture this year is winless Chicago, which hasn't won a trophy since 2006.

After a road loss to the Galaxy in its opener, Chicago began a three-game homestand last week by earning a dramatic 1-1 draw against Orlando City, getting a stoppage-time equalizer from CJ Sapong while down to 10 men.

Acquired just days before the start of the season, the nine-year MLS veteran has already made his mark for the Fire by scoring the team's only two goals of the season, including the 95th-minute header to salvage a point in its home opener.

"When he came to this club, he's bringing the 'spice' to our team. That's how it feels," coach Veljko Paunovic said. "We really think that he still has a lot to bring to the team and he's going to help the team."

As good as Sapong has been through two games, the next step for the Fire will surely be to start getting production from fellow forwards Nemanja Nikolic and Aleksandar Katai, who combined for 27 goals last year.

Updated March 14, 2019

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