SEATTLE – Jordan Morris was itching to get back on the field.
With Seattle’s first-round matchup with FC Dallas in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs on the immediate horizon, however, there wasn’t much time to dwell on it. For Morris, that quick turnaround was a blessing.
“I remember talking to the FOX guys before the game and they asked if it was nice to have a game so close [after the Canada game],” Morris said after Saturday’s match. “And, yeah, I was excited to get back out on the field and have another game and get some redemption.”
The match couldn’t have acted as a much better platform for a bounce-back performance.
Morris exploded for his first career MLS hat trick on Saturday, including a dramatic game-winning goal in the 113th minute that sent the Sounders to a wild 4-3 victory over FC Dallas and punched their ticket to the Western Conference Semifinals.
“Jordan is such a nice kid, he has so much talent,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said after the game. “It just shows that his growth, his maturity in these big contests, in these big games, maybe [playing with the USMNT] helps him, but he’s been always a good student.
“[Assistant coach] Preki has been working with him. Preki makes Jordan find the [video] clips he wants to talk about, then they discuss it, so we’re making him think about the game and think about how he can be better. I think some of those things are working.”
For Morris, it was the culmination of what has already been an impressive comeback campaign after he missed all of the 2018 MLS season with a torn ACL.
He bagged 10 goals and seven assists this season in 26 games, recapturing some of the form that made him one of US soccer’s most enticing young prospects before injuries derailed his momentum.
Saturday’s match was by no means a pretty victory for Seattle, which gave up leads of 2-0 and 3-2 before finally dispatching FC Dallas in extra time to cap off an entertaining, high-intensity match. But with the team as healthy as its been all season, Morris said he feels confident the Sounders will be able to continue to keep the attacking fireworks rolling.
“I think this team never gives up,” Morris said. “We know we have the quality to create chances and score goals so when we’re tied or down, we know we have that quality. I think we could have had a couple more goals today. We know we have the quality.
“It’s just good to be back, playing in playoff games like this,” he added. “Last couple of years I’ve been hurt, 2017 the majority of the playoffs, 2018 out for the whole playoffs. So, to be back in these games is just special.”