Jordan Morris’ return to the United States national team has been a long time coming.
The Seattle Sounders forward suffered a hamstring injury in September 2017 that kept him out of the final 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches before missing the entire 2018 MLS season after tearing his ACL in CONCACAF Champions League play last February.
Morris is healthy now and looks as good if not better than he did before the injury. After a strong preseason, Morris has sprinted out of the gate, tallying three goals and an assist through three matches and has helped lead Seattle to a perfect 3-0-0 start, the club’s best since 2009.
Morris’ fine form earned him a much-anticipated call-up to the USMNT, and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter praised Morris at camp in Orlando, Fla., ahead of two friendlies against Ecuador and Chile.
“I think a lot of the credit goes to Seattle on how they’re playing and the players they have on the field, and the understanding of their game,” said Berhalter. “Jordan has a very specific role in their system, to penetrate [the opposing team’s] backline when a teammate has time on the ball, and he does a good job of that. His timing is very good and he’s able to take advantage of that. The other thing I like about him which we’ve seen so far is offensive transition. He’s been excellent. His pace and his skill set make him an ideal player for offensive transition.”
After the Sounders’ 4-2 win at the Chicago Fire last Saturday, Morris noted how unpredictable Seattle’s attack is and how the dynamism up front between Nicolás Lodeiro, Víctor Rodríguez, Raúl Ruidíaz and himself is making it nearly impossible for opposing defenses to figure them out and slow them down. Berhalter echoed Morris’ assessment.
“We’ve had a number of conversations,” said Berhalter. “Again, when I look at Seattle and how they’re playing, it really accentuates the skill sets of their players. When you think about Lodeiro, who has freedom to roam, you have Rodríguez, you have Jordan who likes to get behind the line. You have Ruidíaz who is a box-scorer. They are set up to take advantage of the qualities they have.”