PORTLAND, Ore. – When Jordan Morris burst onto the scene in 2014 as a surprise US men’s national team call-up while still at Stanford, fans were excited at the idea of the forward wearing down opposing defenses for years to come. That anticipation again manifested itself in MLS, when the hometown kid spurned offers from Europe to sign with the Seattle Sounders in 2016.
Now four years into his MLS career, the 24-year-old as been hit by the injury bug at times. But he’s still finding ways to torment opposing defenses, as he set up both goals in Seattle’s 2-1 win over Cascadian rival Portland Timbers last Friday night. He now has seven goals and five assists on the year.
"Jordan was great," said Sounders’ head coach Brian Schmetzer. "I mean, he took (Zarek) Valentin on and it was a great matchup, for sure."
With Raul Ruidiaz operating centrally and in the box, Schmetzer has had to adjust Morris’s role. The forward-turned-winger has responded with great willingness to take defenders on, especially with his left foot.
“It’s a different role with the team, and I’m playing wider this year,” said Morris. “It might not be as much in front of goal, but creating chances for others and that’s something I want to keep working on.”
The shift has benefited a Sounders’ attack that just helped the club snap a four-game winless skid.
“Part of our strength is that we can attack in different ways,” said Morris. “For me, it’s trying to use my pace to get behind or taking people one-on-one. When I’m isolated on that side, that’s just what I try to do.”
After missing all of last season with a torn ACL, it hasn’t been an easy road back for Morris, who was subbed off in the 66th minute on Friday with some lingering groin pain.
While Schmetzer is taking caution, Morris assured the fans he fine and that he’ll be ready to go next Sunday (6:30 pm ET | FS1 — Full TV & streaming info) when the Sounders host the LA Galaxy. They’re both chasing top seeding in the Western Conference standings.
“I had a little groin pain, but nothing where playing was going to make it worse, so I wanted to go out and play a little more," Morris said. "I felt it, but it’s all good and I was ready to go back out in the second half.”