Five minutes into the Seattle Sounders’ match at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, it appeared to be the same old script.
The club had six players away on international duty, including three nominal starters. The Sounders were visiting Children’s Mercy Park, historically a nightmarish venue for them. And they conceded early to an SKC team that came out hunting in search of its first win of the season.
And then Jordan Morris happened. Then he happened again. And again. And again.
The Sounders left Kansas City with all three points in a 4-1 victory courtesy of a historic four-goal burst from their Homegrown talent. Morris wasn’t even starting in his usual winger position, but rather because of Raúl Ruidíaz’s international absence and Héber’s injury, Morris started at forward, a position he played early on in his career but far less recently.
All he did was set the club’s MLS record for goals in a single match and became only the third player in league history to record four goals away from home, and the first since 2000.
“Never in my career have I had four goals,” said Morris. “Maybe as a youth player. It’s been a long, long time. It means a lot. I’m a goalscorer, I thrive on scoring goals. But it’s a ‘we’ and it’s about the team.”
The performance was also Morris’ second professional hat trick, with his other coming against FC Dallas in the 2019 Western Conference Playoffs. He has started the season with a vengeance, scoring seven times in five matches to lead the early MLS Golden Boot race.
“Jordan has been on a tear to start the year,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “The first goal was a really tremendous counterattack and transition goal.”
Morris’ equalizer was the lifeline Seattle needed after dealing with a Sporting flurry for the first 20 minutes. Léo Chú, who started at Morris’ normal position at left wing and tied a club record with three assists, played a beautiful ball into the path of Morris’ run in the box for an easy finish.
All four of his goals were one-timed shots, flashing some of that predatorial No. 9 instinct that made him such a dominant force at Stanford and earned him time on both the Sounders First Team and the United States Men’s National Team. When asked about his favorite though, he and Schmetzer both alluded to his final one, a leaping header at the back post that he snuck into the net. It’s a skill he’s been working on with Assistant Coack Preki.
“Something I’ve been working on is my heading, being in the box and being at the back post and working on that aspect of my game,” Morris said. “I’ve seen improvements in the last couple years and it’s something I want to keep working on.”
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Morris knows how important a win that was and praised the resilience of the entire squad. The Sounders are fourth in the league in goals scored with 10 and tied for first in goals allowed, having conceded just twice.
“It was an amazing team performance after going down 1-0,” said Morris. “We know that we haven’t had the best record on the road recently, and when that [early SKC] goal went in, we could have imploded. It’s a testament to the group and our mentality that we went the other way. It was a fantastic team effort.”
Now the Sounders will get another road test next Saturday when they head to Carson, Calif., for a date with the LA Galaxy (4:30 p.m. PT; FOX, Watch for free on the Apple TV app). Like Sporting Kansas City, the Galaxy will be searching for their first win of the season, but Morris & Co. are hoping to put in another quality shift like they did this weekend.
“We go on these long road trips, you spend time away with your family, you work so hard throughout the week, you want to bring something home,” he said. “We have to build on this and keep playing like this on the road.”