Jordan Morris

Jordan Morris guts out classic performance, helps put Seattle Sounders in MLS Cup FInal

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. —Jordan Morris logged perhaps the Seattle Sounders’ gutsiest performance of the year on Sunday.

The 2016 MLS Rookie of the Year entered the second leg of the Sounders’ Western Conference Championship against the Colorado Rapids fighting a stomach illness. Friday was the worst of it, Saturday was nearly as bad and on Sunday it was still bothering him.

But that didn’t stop Morris from scoring his second goal in as many games and giving the Sounders a 1-0 victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, sending Seattle to its first-ever MLS Cup Final.

“The kid is not only strong physically dealing with the disease that he has (Type-1 Diabetes), but he’s also strong mentally,” said head coach Brian Schmetzer. “That’s what you saw today.

“He wasn’t feeling his best. Yeah, there were times in the first half where he didn’t look like the Jordan that we all know and love, but in the one moment that really counted, he was mentally strong enough, he pushed himself physically to score the goal that we needed to put us through.”

Forward Nelson Valdez played Morris through with a deft pass that he chipped past goalkeeper Zac MacMath against the run of play. The goal gave the Sounders a 3-1 aggregate lead and sent the Rapids to their first home loss in 19 matches this season.

Morris’s goal was one of only three Sounders shots on target, but he capitalized when his moment came.

“[Morris’ play was] exactly what we needed,” said goalkeeper Stefan Frei. “We knew we weren’t going to get a ton of chances, but I was confident that we have the quality on the team that when we have the one or two. we’d be able to nick one. And that’s what he did.

“He took care of business there with that one chance he had.”

Morris paid the price for his effort, though. He collided with MacMath on the play and went down in a heap. So in addition to being under the weather and playing at altitude, Morris played the remaining 35 minutes hobbled with a gash directly below his right knee.

Schmetzer and Morris had a quick conversation about whether he could continue, but Morris told Schmetzer he was going to keep playing, and Schmetzer trusted him.

“[Morris’] mindset was to play 90 minutes and try and make an impact on the game,” said midfielder Cristian Roldan. “You see that he did so … even through injury and adversity and sickness. Credit to him, he changed the game for us.”

Morris and the Sounders will now await the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC on Wednesday night before playing in the franchise’s first-ever MLS Cup Final on Dec. 10.

“It’s funny looking back when everyone thought we were dead in the water and now we’re in the final,” Morris said. “This team always believed that we were good enough to make it. I think we proved a lot of people wrong. There’s always that belief in the locker room – do it for us and do it for our fans. We’ve got one more game to go."



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