Jordan Morris fights through ankle pain to stay in, score in Sounders’ win over Red Bulls

Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris scored his first goal of the 2017 Major League Soccer season in Sunday’s 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls, but he almost exited the match before it happened.

Morris came up limping toward the end of the first half after a collision with Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles and was visibly agitated until the halftime break. Morris’ father Michael is the Sounders’ team doctor and, after having conversed with the training staff and head coach Brian Schmetzer, wanted to take his son off at halftime. Jordan said no.

“[My dad is] always in there trying to figure some things out,” Morris said with a laugh. “We were going to say and try for 10 minutes and see, and it felt fine. I felt a little pain but nothing too bad. I was ready to keep playing and didn’t want to come out of the game.”

Schmetzer was happy to see Morris stay in the game and contribute. After a slow start to his highly anticipated rookie season last year, in which he didn’t score until his sixth game of the season, seeing the ball go into the back of the net will go a long way for the confidence of one of the league and United States’ best young forwards.

“Maybe that’s just the kid pushing back to the parent,” Schmetzer said. “We left them out there and I’m glad we did because I think for him to score a goal did him a world of good. He deserved one because, let’s be honest, he didn’t score some of the earlier chances but as long as he’s creating those chances, it’s good for the Seattle Sounders.”

Morris’ next challenge comes with the U.S. national team for two crucial CONCACAF 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches home to Honduras on March 24 and away at Panama on March 28. The U.S. has already lost forward Bobby Wood to injury, leaving just Morris, fellow Sounder Clint Dempsey and Toronto FC’s Jozy Altidore as options up top for head coach Bruce Arena. A Morris injury could be a huge blow to the U.S. attacking corps, especially with Arena still planning to be “very cautious” with Dempsey.

Morris flew to U.S. camp in San Jose, Calif., after the Sounders match on Sunday, but according to a report from the AP, he did not participate in practice on Monday. He spent the session at the team hotel getting treatment on his ankle.

Whether Morris is healthy enough to see the field in the U.S.’ upcoming matches is yet to be determined, but if he is in fact good to go, expect him to find a way to contribute.

“He’s a tough kid,” said Schmetzer. “It’s again a testament again to a kid who has a winning mentality.”