After opening his Major League Soccer career with three straight starts, Seattle Sounders FC forward Jordan Morris filled a reserve role Saturday against the Montreal Impact.
“I wanted Jordan to find his game, enjoy his game,” coach Sigi Schmid explained Monday. “I think there’s been a lot of expectations that have been heaped upon him — not least of which from (media). And sometimes it’s good to take a step back. Sometimes if the front door is locked, you take a step back, and you look at the back door and you make your way in that way.”
Schmid juggled his lineup by starting Nelson Valdez as the forward up top, with Clint Dempsey behind him and Aaron Kovar and Andreas Ivanschitz on the flanks. Morris replaced Kovar in the 57th minute.
Dempsey provided the game’s only goal in the 79th minute. It was his first goal of the season and the first by any Seattle forward.
Morris, 21, is a native of Mercer Island who played for the Sounders FC Academy and Stanford University, where as a junior he won the Hermann Trophy and was Pac-12 player of the year. He has appeared with the United States senior and U-23 teams. On Jan. 21, the Sounders signed him to what the club called the richest homegrown contract in MLS history.
Four games into his rookie season, Morris has three starts and four appearances totaling 263 minutes. He has no goals or assists, has taken three shots and put one on target.
The Sounders return to league play Sunday at Houston. Schmid has given no indication of his lineup plans for that game.
SLOW S2 START
S2, the Sounders’ USL development team, lost 3-0 Sunday to first-year franchise San Antonio FC.
That dropped S2 to 0-3, and the team has been outscored 7-0 on the season.
However, Schmid doesn’t believe those results indicate a gap at that level of the club’s player-development system.
“It has been very difficult (because) they played three non-MLS USL teams,” he said. “San Antonio, I think there were six or seven MLS players in their lineup — and not just a cup of coffee in the league, but guys who have played 30, 40, 50 games in the league. From that standpoint, it’s a much more veteran team. Sacramento’s the same way. Arizona is the same. They’re trying to build a big franchise, so their budgets for their teams are significantly bigger than ours. And we’ve made a commitment to playing young players.”
The Sounders have stressed that S2 values player development more than wins and losses. And Schmid noted that injuries or national-team service have limited the availability of several top prospects, including homegrown midfielder Jordan Schweitzer and forward Myron Samuel.
“There’s probably three or four starters who haven’t been able to play yet,” Schmid said. “And they’ve played a lot of veteran teams.”
S2’s next match is April 12, when Rio Grande Valley FC visits Starfire Sports Stadium.