SEATTLE—The Seattle Sounders’ goals in Saturday's 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union at CenturyLink Field could not have come from two more distinctly different sources.
The first came off a 41st-minute header courtesy of center back Chad Marshall, a 13-year MLS veteran with 316 career appearances to his name, one mostly known as the league’s only three-time MLS Defender of the Year.
The second came from rookie forward Jordan Morris, Seattle’s 21-year-old Homegrown wunderkind playing in just his sixth MLS game. Morris scored his first career goal as a professional in the 71st minute, poking home a pinpoint long ball off the foot of Andreas Ivanschitz – a goal that Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid says led to feelings of relief as much as jubilation for his young striker.
“I’m sure [Morris] feels more relieved than I do,” Schmid said.
After struggling to find a rhythm through Seattle’s first five games, Morris looked more dangerous across the board from the get-go on Saturday, narrowly missing on a couple of dangerous opportunities in the first half.
He finally broke through with a strike he niftily flicked by Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake with the outside of his foot, whipping the 39,620 onlookers at CenturyLink into a frenzy.
“I’m pigeon-toed, so that’s a little bit more natural to me to stab at the ball like that sometimes,” Morris said. “I get some flack for it but it’s just more natural for me. I just put my foot out there and I’m glad it went in.”
With his first goal out of the way, Schmid says Morris might have a necessary psychological weight lifted off his shoulders that he hopes will lead to a snowball effect in the coming weeks.
“He’ll be a lot more confident [now],” Schmid said. “There’s a big weight off his shoulders. That weight, each week there was probably another five pounds that got added to that. By now, there was about 50-60 pounds. You eliminate those 50-60 pounds, you can run a lot lighter next week.”