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Lyndsay Radnedge

One Of Our Own: Jordan Morris' play on the wing puts Sounders in position to secure No. 2 seed in Western Conference

Seattle Sounders winger Jordan Morris is in the best form of his professional career.

After posting 12 goals and four assists in 34 matches in 2016, which earned the young Homegrown striker MLS Rookie of the Year honors, injuries derailed his 2017 and 2018 seasons. But the Mercer Island native is back and better than ever in 2019, tallying 10 goals and 7 assists from 25 appearances, all while adjusting to a new tactical role out on the wing.

Seattle's most dangerous attacking sequences against San Jose came from Morris' stellar play out on the wing

It seemed like Sunday night’s dramatic, last-gasp 1-0 win over the Earthquakes was headed for a draw. But Morris, who had carved out several quality chances throughout the match, secured three massive points with a classy goal in the 94th minute.

“Goal scorers make mistakes, defenders make mistakes, midfielders make mistakes,” added Schmetzer. “The kid gave us the win at the end. I’m proud as punch.”

In his post-match interview, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer was quick to offer praise for his coaching staff as well.

“The coaching staff puts in just as much effort as the players to make the team successful,” he said. “Gonzalo [Pineda] had the tactics right, Djimi [Traore] working with all the defenders, Preki working with Jordan [Morris] every day, Tommy [Dutra] with Stef [Frei]. I have the best coaching staff in the league.

In Morris’ last 11 starts since returning from the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, he has contributed six goals and six assists. Moreover, Morris has demonstrated that he’s developed critical facets of being an effective winger, especially his ability to dribble past defenders 1-v-1 and serve dangerous crosses into the box.

After Seattle’s 2-1 win over reigning MLS Cup Champions Atlanta United on July 12, which was Morris’ first match back from international duty, the fourth-year pro revealed how his approach to playing out wide has paid dividends this season.

“[Steve Zakuani] was obviously a great winger,” Morris said in his post-match interview. “He said I need to embrace being a winger. The last couple of years, I was more of a forward out wide. I wanted to be up front, and I didn’t enjoy myself out wide. But now I’m really enjoying myself. I consider myself a winger.”

Morris’ commitment to becoming an elite winger, and all of the tactical and stylistic adjustments that come with it, has led to the most productive spell in his young career. In addition to his goals and assists, Morris has compiled 15 key passes and 17 successful dribbles.

A humble, team-first player, Morris was quick to point out that the team’s win is more important than his blistering run of form. And with the LA Galaxy, Minnesota United, FC Dallas and Portland Timbers all dropping points on Sunday, the Rave Green’s win in San Jose carried even more weight.

“We knew that it was going to be a dogfight,” Morris said after the win in San Jose. “I think some results went our way too, so for us to get three points here is huge.”

The Sounders can secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with a win over Minnesota United at CenturyLink Field on October 6 (1:00 p.m. PT; JOEtv, YouTube TV, Univision-Seattle, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM | TICKETS).