Jordan Morris

Jordan Morris shines in Seattle Sounders' win, insists no lingering injury concerns

SEATTLE — Baby steps.


That was how Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer described the progress of forward Jordan Morris last week as he recovered from a strained hamstring. Morris exited at halftime in the Sounders’ second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals against FC Dallas on Nov. 6, leaving his postseason fate in doubt.


Morris was only a half-participant in training leading into the first leg of the Western Conference Championship against the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night, and he was officially listed as questionable.


But none of that mattered in the Sounders’ 2-1 win.


“I felt great,” Morris said. “I wanted to keep playing [tonight], so I think that’s a good sign. The hamstring felt good so no real issues with that.”


Not only did Morris start at left wing, but he logged 78 productive minutes and scored his first career postseason goal. Schmetzer replaced Morris with Andreas Ivanschitz, who made his first return to game action in over a month after recovering from a sprained knee he suffered against Houston six matches ago.



Schmetzer has repeatedly said he never puts a number on how long he thinks a player can play, lest he put an unfair amount of pressure on him to over-exert himself. But Schmetzer did say that the move to take Morris off was a precautionary one considering his workload and the fact that the Sounders had a lead.


Morris scored Seattle’s equalizer in the 19th minute when he hammered home a rebound past Rapids goalkeeper Zac MacMath after a Cristian Roldan shot hit the post. The tally, which Morris credits entirely to the run of Roldan, came just six minutes after Kevin Doyle put the Sounders in a sobering 1-0 hole.


It was a boost the Sounders desperately needed.


“We knew that we needed to have an answer when they scored an away goal,” said Morris. “If we go 30 or 40 minutes without scoring a goal, we’re going to get antsy or a little frustrated, so to get a response quickly like that was good to give confidence back to the team.”



Morris benefitted from the 16 days off between the conference semifinals and finals due to a FIFA international break. He had extra time to rest and recover, and in turn produced an effective shift on the attacking wing. He found and exploited many pockets of space on the Rapids’ right side and combined well with Nicolas Lodeiro and Nelson Valdez.


He switched back and forth on the left and right, alternating his positioning based on where Lodeiro was playing. Morris covered for Lodeiro as the Uruguayan drifted all over the pitch. Morris’ tally even came from a run from the right side toward the left side of the box.


Morris has grown up considerably since the beginning of the season. His goalless drought to start his professional career seems eons away, and he’s quickly become one of the most effective goalscorers in MLS. His skills, speed and touch around goal have always been there, but as he garners more and more experience, the game is slowing down for him and he’s playing smarter soccer.


He may have recently been named the 2016 AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year, but Morris is mentally past that first-year wall.


“The season has been long and it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “I definitely don’t feel quite like a rookie anymore.”

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