CARSON, Calif. — “We just need one guy to bury one,” Seattle Sounders interim head coach Brian Schmetzer said on Saturday.
On Sunday at Stubhub Center, with Seattle in desperate need of points as it makes a push for the final Western Conference postseason spot, Jordan Morris buried two.
The 21-year-old rookie scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season in Seattle’s resounding 4-2 win over the Galaxy, a match the team could have potentially afforded to lose with games against the struggling Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps looming later in the week. This is also an LA team that was in second place in the Western Conference, can still make a run at the Supporters’ Shield and hadn’t lost at home in 15 matches this season.
The Sounders entered six points out of the sixth and final playoff spot in the West with six matches remaining and three games in hand on their opponents ahead of them. They spent all week working on creating chances and putting away opportunities, and Morris, the team’s leading scorer, followed through.
“Jordy is certainly a tremendous player and he showed it tonight so give him all the credit where credit is due,” Schmetzer said, “but again it’s the guys behind him that are feeding him the balls that created some of those chances for him.”
Morris now has four goals in his past four games and is looking as comfortable as ever at the lone striker in the top of Schmetzer’s 4-2-3-1 formation, even without the absent Clint Dempsey. Morris’s first career brace also puts him ahead of the Philadelphia Union’s Chris Pontius for the leading American goalscorer in MLS this year.
The second of Morris’ two tallies was also Morris’ sixth game-winning goal of the year. He set an MLS rookie record last week when he led the Sounders to a 1-0 win over the Whitecaps in Seattle.
“As the season’s gone on, the game has slowed down for me a little bit,” Morris said. “So in moments like that [around goal] I don’t panic as much. Maybe early in the season I would have tried to hit [my second goal] first time.”
The Sounders still have work to do with another six points up for grabs this coming week, but they have to feel good about the way they responded, and it starts with the play of Morris. He’s found a groove and might just carry this team to the playoffs.
“You have to keep in mind that this is just a rookie we’re talking about,” goalkeeper Stefan Frei said of Morris. “He has a lot of expectations for himself but also a lot of people having high expectations of him...It comes with a lot of pressure and for a young guy it can be difficult to deal with that.
“He has a great head on his shoulders and he knows that every day he can get better. He still has a lot of room to grow, so I’m excited he’s a part of my team.”