Jordan Morris to feature for Seattle Sounders against LA Galaxy

Jordan Morris

He’s in the clear.

Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer, during a Thursday interview with 950 KJR, divulged that forward Jordan Morris will play during their Monday evening home game against the LA Galaxy that caps MLS Week 34 (10 pm ET | TUDN, Twitter).

“Jordan Morris is going to feature in that game against the Galaxy, I know that,” Schmetzer said. “The doctors have given him the medical clearance so he will feature against the Galaxy.”

It’s been just over eight months since Morris tore his left ACL while on loan with English Championship side Swansea City during a February 2021 match against Huddersfield ​​Town. He’s returned to training in recent weeks, following a rapid recovery timeline after most presumed he’d miss the entire MLS campaign – as he did in 2018 upon tearing his right ACL.

Against LA, Seattle’s attack could also feature midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro from the opening whistle. The Uruguayan string-puller came off the bench in last Tuesday’s 3-0 loss at LAFC, marking just his eighth league appearance of 2021 after having arthroscopic knee surgery and battling injuries himself.

“If Nico’s knee doesn’t swell up and is good and he feels good, there’s for sure a really good chance he’s going to start the game and then we’ll just run him out there as long as we can,” Schmetzer said. “If not, he’s definitely going to feature in the match as a sub for sure. But if his knee holds up, I’m not afraid to start him.”

Seattle’s head coach offered another key injury update, that Raul Ruidiaz is nearing his own return. Their star striker is recovering from a hamstring injury, one that’s halted his quest for the Golden Boot presented by Audi (one behind 17 goals from D.C. United’s Ola Kamara).

“Raul is close. He may make it but again, his long-term health for the playoffs is a little more important there,” Schmetzer said. “So he’s got to go through some testing this week and then we’ll see.”

Add in Joao Paulo’s return from yellow-card accumulation suspension and Seattle seem primed for a major lineup boost. The Brazilian midfielder holds a Designated Player spot, just like Ruidiaz and Lodeiro do. Meanwhile, Morris is a US men’s national team player who earned 2020 MLS Best XI honors alongside Lodeiro.

This all occurs at an opportune time, as Seattle have dropped to the West’s No. 2 seed ahead of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. They’re guaranteed to play postseason soccer for the 13th straight year, but jumping over Sporting Kansas City (who have a game in hand) won’t be easy.

“We’d love to get into No. 1 because it gives a Champions League spot,” Schmetzer said. “No. 2, we’ve had years where we’ve been No. 2 and it still works out because we’re a pretty good road team. Certainly last year it helped us having all the home games in the playoffs. I think it’s always better to be the home seed and get the home games. But I still have faith that we can go on the road and get a playoff win as well.”

Regardless, Schmetzer simply wants his team to perform better. They’re on a season-long four-game winless streak and are in danger of slumping into the postseason.

Seattle, MLS Cup champions in 2016 and 2019, are looking to add another trophy to the cupboard. In 2020, they lost MLS Cup to the Columbus Crew.

“The time’s over for scoreboard watching, we need to win the last two games,” Schmetzer said. “It’s as simple as that, and then whatever else happens in the West, things will shake out as they do. But I want the team to be just playing better when we’re going into the playoffs. That’s a critical part.”