Jordan Morris Return Sider Cover photo

The Seattle Sounders may have drawn the LA Galaxy 1-1 at Lumen Field on Monday night, but it was a personal victory for Jordan Morris. The 27-year-old Homegrown returned to the pitch for the first time in eight months after suffering an ACL injury, capping an ahead-of-schedule comeback when he checked in at the hour mark for Raúl Ruidiaz.

“It feels great,” said Morris. “It’s been a long process, a long year. It’s been almost two years since I’ve played in front of fans, so that was a special moment. I’m grateful to be back playing with the team. It’s obviously not the result we wanted, but we’ve got to push forward.”

Morris initially injured his ACL, the second one in his career, in February while on loan with Swansea City in the English Championship. For him to step back onto the Lumen Field pitch among friends and family was an experience he called “surreal” in the week leading up to the match and certainly lived up to his expectations.

“We’re super lucky here with the fan base that we have,” he said. “That’s the moment you think about when you go through a long recovery, that moment where you’re stepping back out on the field and hearing the fans and getting to play again. Definitely some chills and goosebumps going onto the field.”

The challenge now for the Sounders, who head to Vancouver on Sunday to take on the Cascadia rival Whitecaps on Decision Day (3 p.m. PT; FOX 13+, KUNS, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM), is how to integrate Morris into the lineup. Head Coach Brian Schmetzer switched from his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation that had gotten Seattle to four of the last five MLS Cups to a 3-5-2, in part to cover for the absence of Morris’ pace and incision in attack.

Schmetzer & Co. are also welcoming back and reincorporating captain Nicolás Lodeiro, who started and went 73 minutes on Monday in what was just his ninth appearance of the year after battling multiple injuries of his own.

Schmetzer is still optimistic that he’ll have all the pieces working come playoff time, which is rapidly approaching. When healthy, the Sounders sport one of the most lethal attacks in MLS, and Morris figures to play a massive role in that one way or another.

“The mood is subdued because it was a loss,” said Schmetzer. “Let’s just call this tie a loss. [Morris], personally, has to feel good because I think he looked strong, powerful.

“[Morris] is a vital part of our team,” Schmetzer added. “He’s such a huge talent that I would be remiss or not doing my job if I didn’t figure out a way how to get the kid on the field.”

SUMMER WITH THE CHAMPS

SUMMER WITH THE CHAMPS

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