Jordan Morris tight shot
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

FOX Sports' Alexi Lalas: Jordan Morris can star for USMNT without moving to Europe

As the Seattle Sounders embarked on another run in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, the topic of where standout winger Jordan Morris plays his club soccer became a hot topic of discussion once again.

Morris put in a Best XI campaign for Seattle this season, scoring 10 goals and dishing out eight assists while solidifying himself as one of the league's most dynamic attackers. But no matter Morris accomplishes in the league, there will always be a vocal contingent of US men's national team supporters that contend he won't be able to find out his true ceiling unless he makes a move overseas.

That hasn't happened yet, but that doesn't mean it never will, with Morris himself saying during this year's playoff run that it's something he'd consider if he felt the opportunity was right, and general manager Garth Lagerwey adding that the club would do what it could to accommodate whatever path Morris thinks is best for his career.

“I definitely have goals and aspirations and if the right European team or situation came, it would definitely be something that I would have to take a close look at,” Morris said. “The whole focus is on this game this weekend, and then after that we'll see.”

With the debate back in full swing, FOX Sports' Alexi Lalas weighed in on his latest State of the Union Podcast, saying that he would be happy to see such a move for Morris, but adding that his hope would be it could come out of self-motivation and not pressure from external sources.

"I have no problem if Jordan Morris decides that he wants to test himself and have that European adventure, and I also think that there will be plenty of suitors," Lalas said. "But I want it to come from the right place. First and foremost it has to come from him. I don't want him to do it because he thinks that it is what he should do, I want him to do it because he believes in his heart of hearts that it is what he needs to do. I don't want him to do it because he feels out of some warped sense of responsibility that he needs to live up to what the American soccer community believes is the right path and that somehow he's not fulfilling his destiny or that he's shirking his responsibility to American soccer by not doing that."

"Jordan Morris can have an incredible career," he continued. "He can make plenty of money. He can be the player that people think about when it comes to Seattle Sounders, and he can play his entire career in Seattle for the Sounders, he can be one of the great players ever to play the game, he can star, not just for Seattle, but for the US men's national team, and he can do that without ever going to Europe. I am convinced that he can.

"To many, if that decision is made and he never goes to Europe, he will not be looked at in the same way we look at other players because we associate and we equate going to Europe with better players. In many cases that may absolutely be the case, but that's not necessarily the case. When a Landon Donovan or an Eddie Pope decide that they want to play their careers domestically, I believe it comes from a place where they have looked within themselves and they have an understanding of who they are. I have to respect that and appreciate, and I think even celebrate that, because not everybody has it."

Morris has been with the Sounders since 2016, when he signed as a Homegrown player out of Stanford University after starring as a member of the club's youth academy. The 26-year-old has put up 35 goals and 20 assists in 105 career MLS games.