Jordan Morris nearing full fitness for USMNT ahead of Gold Cup opener

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The US men’s national team, prior to Tuesday night’s 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup opener against Guyana (10 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, UDN, TSN 1/3), enjoyed a light walkthrough at Allianz Field. Having practiced intensely throughout the week, with friendlies against Jamaica and Venezuela before, some on-field relaxation was welcomed. 

“We’ve definitely stepped up the intensity in training,” said midfielder Weston McKennie.

Now, with training in the rearview mirror, the USMNT is ready for the tournament to begin.

“We’re looking forward to getting out and playing,” said head coach Gregg Berhalter. “You can see the focus shifting with the group this week … The guys just want to play now.”

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The US will be without some projected starters during the 2019 tournament, meaning Berhalter’s starting lineups have gaps to fill. Center back John Anthony Brooks, right back DeAndre Yedlin, midfielder Tyler Adams and midfielder Duane Holmes are all dealing with various injuries.

“We’ve been working toward forming a starting XI for the last week, and we’re pretty much there,” said Berhalter, who will be coaching in his first international tournament. “The focus from not just the guys who are projected to be starters but from the whole group has been really good. I like the attitude of the players.”

One of those players with a positive attitude is the Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris. Still rebounding from a torn ACL suffered in 2018 and currently working through a slight hamstring injury, he’s a happy camper. 

“My whole goal … on all those tough days was to push through the training and get back out here, be back representing this country,” Morris said. “Being a part of the last Gold Cup, I know what that means and what this whole tournament represents.”

Morris added that his fitness is “getting there.” Before being sidelined, he had four goals and an assist through 12 games for the Sounders. 

“Having this time before the Gold Cup has been good,” Morris said. “Being out three weeks or so, it’s good to come in and have this time to get my fitness back up … [I’m] maybe not quite 100% yet, but it’s getting close.”

Alongside Morris, other options on the wing include Paul Arriola of D.C. United, Jonathan Lewis of the Colorado Rapids and newcomer Tyler Boyd. Berhalter didn’t address Morris’ situation specifically, though pointed to some anticipated squad rotation. 

“We’ve known that it’s going to be difficult for every player to play in all those games, so we’re going to have to manage their workloads,” Berhalter said