The Seattle Sounders’ 1-1 draw against Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday would not have materialized if not for the heroics of a pair of young faces.
The obvious example is rookie forward Jordan Morris, who scored the equalizer for the Sounders with a curling laser shot in the 61st minute just one minute after Seattle had given up the go-ahead goal to Toronto’s Jordan Hamilton. It was the sixth goal in 14 matches for the 21-year-old Stanford University product to start his MLS career.
“It was a good response to bring some life back into the game,” Morris said afterwards. “It’s always tough to play on the road, so coming out here with at least a point is great for us. Now, we’ve just go build off this and move forward.”
While Morris played the role of offensive hero on Saturday, the Sounders also got a vital contribution on the defensive side from a different rookie: Center back Tony Alfaro, who was forced into action in the 51st minute after starter Chad Marshall exited with a migraine headache.
Alfaro, a 23-year-old MLS SuperDraft pick out of Division II Cal State Dominguez Hills, was steady in Marshall’s absence in his third appearance of the season with the first-team Sounders.
“You just always have to be ready when an opportunity presents itself,” Alfaro said. “Injuries are unfortunate but it’s part of the game. For me, it’s all about staying mentally focused whenever I get the chance to go in and help out the team.”
Schmid also spoke highly of Alfaro’s emergency shift, citing a level of poise uncommon for a rookie defender that should bode well for his professional prospects going forward.
“He’s just not overwhelmed by the situation,” Schmid said. “He’s technically very good, he’s good with the ball and he’s a good passer. His positioning is also solid. I think he’s going to be a good defender in this league.”
With last Tuesday’s dramatic penalty kick shootout victory over Real Salt Lake also in their back pocket ahead of Saturday’s draw, Schmid says the hope now is that the positive momentum can carry over.
“Right now as a team, where we are with our record, you’re looking for confidence,” Schmid said. “Getting the [win over Salt Lake] in the Open Cup and getting a point here today, that’s going to help us in terms of growing our confidence.”
The Sounders return home to take on West Ham United of the English Premier League in an international friendly on Tuesday before returning to league play the following Saturday against the LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field.