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Get To Know A Sounder: Leo Gonzalez -- A Quietly Brilliant Left Back

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WASHINGTON - JULY 15: Leo Gonzalez #19 and Patrick Ianni #4 of Seattle Sounders FC celebrate against D.C. United at RFK Stadium on July 15 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JULY 15: Leo Gonzalez #19 and Patrick Ianni #4 of Seattle Sounders FC celebrate against D.C. United at RFK Stadium on July 15 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
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Last July, a friend forwarded me a link regarding the Sounders signing a Costa Rican international, but my Spanish was rusty and I wasn't entirely certain that I'd correctly deciphered the article. It appeared that we were getting a left-back with the ability to both be a solid defender and get forward in the attack. Considering we were playing Zach Scott at left-back at the time, I felt this news too good to be true.

But it wasn't, and soon a Leo González-shaped package arrived in Seattle, where he has been a welcome presence in a previously porous backline. And today, González returns to Central America, but considering the CONCACAF Champions League match is being played on a Tuesday night, and travel from Costa Rica would involve a 20-hour train journey, his family and friends won't be stopping by to cheer him on. He did let me know that he believes that the match tonight will be "complicated," and that the Sounders need to take advantage of their one goal lead.

Name: Leonardo González Arce-goes by Leo González, and that's "Lay-Oh" not "Lee-Oh".

Age: 29

Position: Defender; primarily a left-back but can play center-back as well.

Nationality: Costa Rican. González has 60 caps for his country, including playing time in the 2006 World Cup. His only international goal came at Estadio Cuscatlán, where the Sounders will face Metapán tonight.

Previous Clubs: Municipal Liberia (Liberia Mia) (2009), CS Herediano (2000-2009). González played CCL football while with Herediano, the club taking on Olympia, from Honduras, in 2004-2005.

In Ten Words Or Less, Leo González is: Quietly brilliant. (Please trademark Kirsten Schlewitz when using this phrase).

Why You'll Like Him: Precisely because he is quietly brilliant. González is not the one creating flashy displays on the field, but he is a solid, dependable force on the left half of the field.

Why You'll Hate Him: Because you might only notice him when he makes a mistake. Defense is often overlooked when it's played well, but it's the errors that bring a player to the forefront. Fortunately for Sounders fans, González rarely makes these sorts of lapses in judgment.

Fun Bar Fact: When I asked Leo what his favorite part of being a Sounder was, his unhesitating response was the fans: "We have great working conditions...over 40,000 fans supporting us always."