When Seattle Sounders Homegrown winger Jordan Morris returned the field in 2019 after a year on the sidelines due to an ACL injury, he spoke about coming back with a new fire.
That promise proved prescient, as the Mercer Island native bagged 13 goals and eight assists last season, leading his hometown club to a second MLS Cup title.
On Thursday night in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Morris picked up right where he left off in 2019, tallying a goal and an assist as the Sounders picked up an important 2-2 draw in Leg One of their Concacaf Champions League series with C.D. Olimpia.
“I think the guys were up for it,” Morris said after the match. “We came out and scored an early goal and created some chances.”
Morris willed the team into an early lead as he set up the team’s first goal in the 6th minute, clipping an inch-perfect cross to João Paulo, who headed home his first Sounders goal on his debut.
“[Joevin Jones] played a good ball across to kind of open up the game,” recalled Morris. “Raúl [Ruidíaz] made a really good run to the near post – he’s going to draw defenders and João made a really good run back post. So, I tried to just put it on his head, and he finished it really well.”
With Olimpia piling on the pressure in search of an equalizer in the second half, Morris then started and finished Seattle’s attacking sequence to extend their lead to 2-0 in the 54th minute.
Faced off 1-v-1 against Olimpia’s right back, he picked out Jones’ late run toward the edge of the box. When Jones forced the Honduran goalkeeper into a diving save, it was Morris who reacted quickest, lunging forward to smash home the rebound.
“Part of being an attacker is you’ve got to be on your toes and try to find rebounds,” said Morris. “So, I was just pushing to get their first.”
While his contributions to the box score were notable, he exhibited plenty of the little details that made him such a devastating winger in 2019. Tasked with pushing the team forward in transition, Morris registered two key passes and two completed dribbles as he carved out chances for his teammates. On the defensive side of the ball, he pitched in one tackle, one clearance and five recoveries.
The Sounders return home to CenturyLink Field for Leg Two level on aggregate, although they hold the advantage with two crucial away goals. There’s still plenty of work to do, but Morris and the Sounders are eager to prove they’re up for the challenge.
The year-over-year improvement in Jordan Morris's vision and playmaking instincts sparks joy.— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) February 21, 2020
“We know it’s going to be another tough game,” said Morris. “We’ve got to get the job done. It was a little frustrating that we gave up two second-half goals, but there was a lot of good stuff. It’s going to be a good game next week.”
Morris’ return to the pitch in 2019 was nothing short of remarkable, and he’s off to another blistering start this season. He’ll need to put in another productive shift next week as the Sounders host Olimpia on Thursday (7:00 p.m. PT; FS2 | TICKETS) with a spot in the Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals on the line.