A Big Question: How does Jordan Morris fit?
The Sounders were the best team in the league during the second half of the 2018 season, which was literally the best half-season any team has put together in MLS history. That's a very good foundation to build off of.
And there are nonetheless some very big questions to answer: How will they do in the post-Ozzie Alonso era? Can Chad Marshall get healthy and find another Best XI-caliber season? Will the overseas interest in Nouhou manifest into an irresistible offer?
Somewhere under the radar, relegated to a lesser subset of questions thanks to the spectacularly productive center forward play of Raul Ruidiaz is how to reintegrate Morris, the Homegrown international forward/winger who missed all of last year with a torn ACL.
The Sounders bet big on Morris and it's worth remembering why:
The list of 22-year-olds who've scored the Gold Cup-winning goal is not a long one (Benny Feilhaber and Tecatito Corona are the only other names on it, and both those guys are pretty good!). Morris also played a key role in Seattle's 2016 season, which ended with an MLS Cup win, which is also pretty good.
But he's a forward who's been cast as a winger for basically his entire pro career thus far, and as long as Ruidiaz is around and banging home a goal a game, and as long as Brian Schmetzer exhibits an almost unwavering preference for the 4-2-3-1, it's a safe bet that Morris will continue to be a forward who plays on the wing.
He can do it pretty well, and has for both club and country. But Seattle have often tried to play him inverted on the left, with the idea that he'd be more dangerous getting the ball on his dominant right foot, cutting inside and going at goal.
In that set-up he's looked like a fish out of water. When he's played on the right – almost like a wide forward more than a winger – he's been more comfortable and more productive.
If it's going to be a 4-2-3-1, and it's going to be Ruidiaz as the No. 9, then it should be Morris on the right. If he's anywhere else, that big bet Seattle made stands a strong chance of looking like it was the wrong money on the wrong man for the wrong job.