Ante Razov - Seattle Sounders - coaching staff
Courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC

Sounders' Jordan Morris hones scoring touch under MLS legend Ante Razov

TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders assistant coach Ante Razov knows a thing or two about scoring goals in MLS.

Razov scored 114 of them during his MLS career – good for fifth on the league’s all-time list – before embarking on a coaching career that took him to Seattle’s coaching staff before the start of last season, primarily to work with the team’s forwards.

MLSsoccer.com caught up with Razov following Seattle’s Thursday training session at Starfire Soccer Complex, specifically to discuss his tutelage of rookie forward Jordan Morris. The 21-year-old is in the midst of a standout inaugural MLS campaign that has seen him bag seven goals following his latest tally in Seattle’s 5-0 romp over FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday.

“One of his biggest strengths is that he can be very direct,” Razov said of Morris on Thursday. “Because of his pace he’s very explosive, he’s a good shooter and we want to put him in a position where he can shoot in front of goal. I think he’s done a good job of that this year. He’s had a lot of chances, which for a first-year player is good to see.”

The seven goals Morris has tallied this year have him on pace to make a run at Orlando City forward Cyle Larin’s rookie goalscoring record of 17, set last year. It’s an impressive rate, to be sure, but Razov says he only expects the pace to pick up as Morris continues to develop and adapt to the professional level.

“I don’t want to say he’s reached certain heights because I think the ceiling is high for him,” Razov said. “We work on it day by day. He’s scored a bunch of goals, but he also could have scored a lot more goals. That’s what you get with a young player sometimes. By no means is he a finished product.

“He’s also starting to get a little bit of that meanness and toughness that you need. I know he’s a nice kid off the field, which is fine, but I need him to be a man on the field.”

If there has been a knock on Morris’s game during his rookie season, it would be a perceived reluctance to use his left foot. Although he’d like to see that facet of his game improve, Razov said he doesn’t make as much of it as some fans and analysts might.

“We want to increase his strengths,” Razov said. “We work on those weaknesses, but I want to make him so good with his right that the left becomes a little more of a surprise thing. I don’t particularly view that as a weakness. I couldn’t shoot much with my [less dominant] foot either.

“He’s such a good shooter with his right foot, I want to increase that to where he’s good with his right that we won’t even have to worry about the left.”