Jordan Morris Finally Arrives in the MLS

After months of having lofty expectations overshadow his actual progress on the pitch, Jordan Morris finally showed MLS what he is about on Sunday.

The day was suppose to be all about the LA Galaxy’s push for the Supporter’s Shield and Landon Donovan’s return. Playing at the Home Depot Center, the LA Galaxy hadn’t lost to the Seattle Sounders since 2009. Outside of Seattle, Jordan Morris was not on many people’s minds heading in the match. By the 73rd minute, all of that had changed.

Jordan Morris has been surrounded by the hype train since 2014 when he debuted for the US men’s national team as a collegiate player from Stanford. He could have easily turned into the next Freddy Adu – who was last seen providing this great piece of attacking action.


 
Instead, he spurned the big money and professional contracts that typically screw up young players. The next season to return to college in order to win a national championship. Not only did he succeed in winning the NCAA title, but was also rewarded with the Herman Trophy given to the best player in the nation. After three years in school Jordan finally went pro, signing with his home-town team the Seattle Sounders.

As the #1 draft pick this season, the hype was raised another level. Prior to the season, Seattle sold nomadic striker Obafemi Martins, and Jordan was thrust into the starting lineup. Throughout the season, the pressure has only grown. Teammates were missing due to international tournaments and friendlies, and more recently team talisman Clint Dempsey has been sidelined with an irregular heart beat.

For any other player, the 2016 season would already have been heralded a massive success. In his debut season, not in the team, but as a professional player, Morris has scored 12 goals in 29 appearances. He leads Seattle in goals scored and sits 5th in assists with three. Only one other rookie in league history has ever scored more – Cyle Larin, last year.

If that wasn’t enough, Morris already has five game-winning strikes. Morris is a victim of the media, who seem to continuously set the bar higher at each turn. In the unfair world of what have you done for me lately, Morris delivers and the MLS seems to respond with “yeah, but what else”. It is a sad state when people continue to make excuses or set new requirements instead of simply enjoying the fact that the US have a great young goal scorer playing in the league each week.

Despite Morris’ success, the Sounders are still outside of the playoff positions and in the midst of a bad season (by Seattle standards). Sunday seemed inevitable to most MLS viewers. LA beats Seattle in LA. Donovan has added more strength to the premier team. Robbie Keane scored the first goal – of course he did, because the Galaxy would win.

Level at half time, Morris exploded out of the locker room in the second half. Scoring a goal ahead strike in 63rd minute and then the match winner in the 73rd. LA’s Daniel Steres had clear positioning on the ball and had steps on Jordan. The rookie blew past Steres, stealing the ball and slipping it by the keeper in a one-on-one. Morris’ key moments defined the game and overshadowed Donovan at home – all on national TV.

Seattle still have work to do to make the playoffs, and Dempsey may not return this season. However 2016 ends for Seattle and Morris, he just had his breakout moment on ESPN Sunday. The league should take notice (as Steres did on Sunday from a great seat on the pitch) because Jordan is not just a force to reckon with this year in the playoffs but for many years to come. MLS neutrals and US Men’s National team fans enjoy.