TUKWILA, Wash. – Just as their 2018 MLS regular season is about to get underway, the Seattle Sounders have been dealt a devastating setback.
Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey confirmed to reporters at Seattle’s Monday morning training session at Starfire Sports Complex that forward Jordan Morris suffered a torn ACL in the second half of the team’s Round of 16 CONCACAF Champions League match-up against Salvadoran side Santa Tecla last week.
The injury will sideline Morris for the entire 2018 season, Lagerwey said, and the third-year Homegrown product is set to undergo surgery on the knee in the next couple of weeks.
“Jordan has torn his ACL. The tests we’ve done so far don’t appear to reveal other [damage] but I want to be cautious and say that until we go in and do the surgery, we won’t know that for sure,” Lagerwey said. “We are going to rule him out for the season. He’ll have surgery probably in a couple of weeks once the swelling goes down and he can build up the strength of the muscles around it. But we want to approach this as what’s best for Jordan’s career long-term. We think he’s a Sounder for the long-term. He’s in the organization’s long-term plans.”
The timing of the news could hardly be worse for the Sounders, who have the second leg of their CCL series against Santa Tecla – which they trail 2-1 on aggregate – coming up at CenturyLink Field on Thursday (10 pm ET | UDN). That will be followed up by their MLS season opener against LAFC on Sunday (5 pm ET | ESPN).
Morris was set to figure heavily into the club’s attack this season, coming off a 2017 campaign that saw him limited to 23 games with ankle and hamstring injuries. He had looked spry in preseason action, appearing primed to regain the form that saw him score 12 goals, take home the league’s Rookie of the Year honors in Seattle’s MLS Cup-winning campaign for 2016 and emerge as a player on the rise for the US national team.
“He started off well. That’s part of the emotional side of it, the raw side of it, especially for a nice kid,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said on Monday. “It makes you feel bad but again, I’d repeat that of course it’s going to affect him [mentally]. That’s just human nature, it’s a tough thing to swallow. But he’ll be okay. I’ve got confidence in him.”
Lagerwey said that the injury also means that he’s planning on signing another forward in order to try and fill the void, although he didn’t elaborate on an exact timeframe for when he expects that addition to take place.
“We do have to sign a forward now to replace him for this season and we’re going to pursue that going forward,” Lagerwey said. “But Jordan is a part of the Sounders. That hasn’t changed, it’s not going to change.”
“We played for four months without Jordan last year,” he added. “We lost one game in that time. We’re going to look for the right deal. We’re going to bring in a [Designated Player] if that’s appropriate, we’re going to bring in a TAM player if that’s appropriate. But we believe in this group. We believe we’re a good enough team to start the season. And that’s how we’re going to approach this.”