Homegrown forward Jordan Morris is fitting in as a member of the Seattle Sounders a little more each day.
On Saturday, Morris joined his first professional club in Tucson after duty in California with the United States men’s national team. On Sunday, the bonding process continued as he paired off with some new teammates to watch the Super Bowl. On Monday, he trained as a member of the Sounders for the first time.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for a while,” he said. “It was good to get out here with the guys and get my first training under my belt.”
Morris hopes to continue the progression with his first game action Tuesday when the Sounders conclude their desert friendlies against Celaya FC of the Mexican second division.
“I haven’t talked to (coach Sigi Schmid) too much,” he said. “But yeah, I’m ready to go.”
When reporters got their chance to talk to Schmid, he confirmed Morris would be available, but he stopped short of committing to playing time. Still, the indication was that the new high-profile forward will get at least a first few minutes.
Either way, Schmid seems pleased with the way Morris is settling in. Yes, there was the relatively light training work Monday. But the coach seemed just as impressed with how Morris spent his off day.
“We just wanted to get him around the team, to start to integrate himself into the team,” Schmid said. “Having the off day was good — the Super Bowl — so he got together with three, four guys. I know a couple of the guys he got together with he knew; but a couple of guys were new guys on the team, so just to start that integration process was good.”
Morris agreed. He noted there’s always benefit in training amid the kind of quality players found on the national team. But after growing up on Mercer Island, after playing with the Sounders FC academy, after three seasons at Stanford, Morris sounded ready to settle into the next phase of his career.
“It was a long time coming for this decision,” he said. “To be in a comfortable environment, know that this is my team and where I’m going to be is awesome.”
Indications are that Morris will have to wait a while longer for his first professional minutes — likely into the second half. After two desert friendlies when the Sounders (0-2) played as separate 11-man units going 45-minutes each, Schmid plans to extend his starting 11, leaving them in for 60 to 70 minutes.
Celaya wasn’t the first-choice opponent, but will still provide the Sounders a taste of south-of-the-border soccer in advance of resuming CONCACAF Champions League at home Feb. 23 against Club America.
“It was just tough to get a Mexican team scheduled,” Schmid said. “Tijuana already had scheduled themselves with the Galaxy at roughly the same period. The following week when we wanted to get a Mexican team, it’s the Mexican Cup, Liga MX, so it’s tough to get teams there. So instead of looking for a first-division team … we looked a little bit into the second division, a team that we felt would bring up more of their first-team players, as well.”
Celaya stands sixth in the 16-team Ascenso MX with three wins and two losses. That third win came Saturday, 3-1, against Irapuato FC. The club was formed in 1954 and is based in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico.
First kick is scheduled for 6 p.m., and the match will be streamed on SoundersFC.com.
The Sounders will hold a final Arizona training Wednesday morning before returning to the Northwest.