Morris & Chú: Seattle Sounders may have a champagne problem in attack


One week after their record-breaking, stats-stuffing outburst at Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Sounders FC's duo of Jordan Morris and Léo Chú was back at it in MLS Matchday 6.

The forwards struck for both goals in Seattle's 2-1 win at the LA Galaxy on Saturday, with Chú setting up Morris for a 21st-minute opener before striking himself for a 35th-minute tally that stood as the game-winner. After assisting on all four of Morris's goals in last week's 4-1 victory at SKC, Chú now has one goal and five assists over his team's last two games.

Morris, meanwhile, has racked up eight goals in six matches, maintaining his lead atop the Golden Boot presented by Audi standings.

"I believe it's always great when you play with other players that have strong quality," Chú said through a translator after the match. "It's good that I've been finding Jordan often. This partnership has been working really well. Still, the team is very strong, so I believe the partnership can work also when you have Héber or Raúl \[Ruidíaz\] there. The important thing is to help the team."

Unstoppable start

Morris has started the 2023 campaign on a full-on tear, with the five-goal outburst over the last two weeks coinciding with his move from the wing to the No. 9 position – a move originally born out of necessity with Ruidíaz (Peru) away on international duty last week and Héber also unavailable with a hamstring injury.

Both Ruidíaz and Héber were back with the squad and available on Saturday, but Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer elected to ride the hot hand and keep Morris up front, with the US international again rewarding the move. After the match, Morris attributed the early-season fireworks to the high-level team soccer Seattle are playing, as well as the work he put in during the offseason to refine his movement in the box.

"I told myself I really wanted to just be goal-hungry this year and work on getting in the box," Morris said. "As a winger, when I was playing out wide, looking to get back to the post and get on the end of service – really focusing on that aspect of my game.

"When I'm playing up front it's just trying to get in the right spots and try to be goal-dangerous. So it's a little bit of a different mindset playing up front. Obviously trying to link up play, help bring other people in as well, but trying to get in spots and try to score easy goals. I think that's the thing: A lot of the goals have been one-touch finishes, and that all comes down to the service."

U22 breakout

Chú's MLS career had gotten off to a slow start following his arrival from Grêmio in his native Brazil on a U22 Initiative contract in 2021, but based on his performance over his last two starts, he's certainly made his case for an increased role.

The sequence on Morris's opener was virtually a carbon copy of Seattle's first goal at SKC, with both showcasing the 22-year-old Chú's pace and crossing ability.

On Saturday, he showed that he can score goals, too, beating Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann with a well-placed finish from well outside the penalty area.

"I'm very happy," Chú said. "As I mentioned last week, I've been putting in the work during the week. I've been preparing for this moment, and it's very important to get this type of sequence. Once you can have this type of sequence, a player can gain confidence, so the more minutes we play, the better it is."

Lineup conundrums

Chú's recent breakout and Morris's blistering form while playing as the No. 9 will give Schmetzer much to ponder as he evaluates his first-choice XI going forward.

Whether Morris will move back to the wing with Ruidíaz healthy is one question. Chú's status between first-choice starter and sparkplug substitute is another. Those qualify as high-class problems, the type of which also tend to solve themselves as the physical grind and fixture-heavy reality of an MLS season set in.

Either way, Schmetzer said he's confident his players are fully bought in, regardless of how he chooses to manage it.

"No player likes to get subbed off, everybody wants to play, everybody wants to start," Schmetzer said. "But that team in that locker room is together. As a collective this team has enough talent and the right mentality to go a long ways in this league.

"So, I'm going to reward the players that do well. I'm going to try and manage the group as best I can. But this is a talented group. And Sounders fans should be happy because we've got a really freakin' good team."