More than goals: Seattle's Jordan Morris shows off another side of his game

TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris became one of the most-anticipated Homegrown signings in MLS history mainly due to his propensity for scoring goals.

But he didn’t need to score any in order to register arguably his best all-around game as a pro in Seattle’s 3-1 romp over Orlando City FC at Camping World Stadium on Sunday – a development that could prove scary for opposing MLS defenses should it become a recurring trend.

Morris was all over the place throughout Sunday’s match, notching assists on two of teammate Clint Dempsey’s three goals. The total could have very easily have jumped to four if not for two near misses from Nelson Valdez and Alvaro Fernandez that each clanged off the goalpost.

“Jordan played awesome tonight,” Dempsey said after the game. “Thought he could have had five assists.”

Speaking with reporters after Seattle’s Tuesday practice at Starfire Soccer Complex, Morris said Sunday’s breakout could at least partially be attributed to an increased comfort level with Dempsey.

“We’ve had to learn how each other like to play and our tendencies,” Morris said. “I think we’re definitely getting it down. I know now he loves to make that late run after the ball slips through. We found him a couple times with that in the game. Our relationship is still building every day, so it’s been good.”

The nearly instantaneous chemistry Morris has established with newly signed midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro also has to be considered an equally intriguing sign for the Sounders.

In their brief two-game stint together since Seattle signed Lodeiro as a Designated Player late last month, the pair has already showcased skill sets that appear highly complementary, with Lodeiro using his uncanny vision and pinpoint delivery to repeatedly pick out the speedy Morris shooting behind the defense.

“Right from the beginning, [Lodeiro] told me he’s going to look for me when I make those runs,” Morris said. “That’s my game. I like to stay on that last line and just look to get behind. He can find those balls because he has really good vision. He’s been a great addition.”

Of course, Morris’s pre-eminent calling card is still his ability to find the back of the net, and his finishing touch has proven elusive in recent weeks. Asked on Tuesday what he would like to improve on as he navigates his way through the rest of his rookie season, he pointed to exactly that.

“My finishing [is the biggest area that needs improvement],” Morris said. “Just keep working on that and looking to be a hold-up guy sometimes. If I’m playing up top by myself, looking to hold the ball up and link and find Clint and Nico underneath. But my finishing I think is the main thing I want to keep working on.”