MLS Soccer

Sounders’ USA players return in different moods

Sounders forward Jordan Morris, top, needs to turn his attention back to the MLS schedule after the United States U-23 squad failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
Sounders forward Jordan Morris, top, needs to turn his attention back to the MLS schedule after the United States U-23 squad failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. The Associated Press

The Seattle Sounders are off to a disappointing 0-3 start in Major League Soccer, but they are heartened that the long season ahead leaves all of their goals within reach.

But when homegrown forward Jordan Morris returned to his club Thursday, he had no such consolation. At least, not regarding his dream of representing his country in the Olympics with the United States U-23 team. Those hopes were snuffed Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to Colombia.

“To be one game away from going to the Olympics and coming up short, it’s pretty tough to swallow,” Morris said. “It’s a dream that I’ve had since I was a little kid. Maybe there are older players who could go in the future, so I’m not 100 percent counting it out. It’s just frustrating to have that opportunity gone.”

Morris was one of several players who returned from international duty in time for Thursday morning training at CenturyLink Field. Clint Dempsey was back from the USA senior team, Oalex Anderson from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Joevin Jones from Trinidad & Tobago, Roman Torres from Panama, and reserve goalkeeper Tyler Miller was with Morris on the USA U-23s.

Coach Sigi Schmid indicated all are expected to be available Saturday when the Montreal Impact visits. However, they played varying roles with their national teams, and they faced different travel schedules. So each was welcomed with a personalized work schedule.

“We kept Dempsey inside,” Schmid said. “We just had Morris through the beginning of the warmup — very similar to what they would do on a regen day. Today was very similar to their regen day. Same thing with Oalex and Joevin. Torres is back as well. … Miller came in (Wednesday), so he trained. … We’ll see a little more how they all feel (Friday).”

Dempsey said he feels good after going the full 90 minutes Tuesday in the USA’s 4-0 win over Guatemala in Columbus, Ohio. Not only did the victory improve the national team’s hopes of advancing in World Cup qualifying, Dempsey also scored his USA-record 14th goal in World Cup qualifying.

“It’s always good to score goals,” he said. “The most important thing from the game is that we won, got in a better situation now going into the last two games, and most importantly is making sure that we … put ourselves into position to qualify for the World Cup. That’s the kind of stuff that means the most to me.”

As for Morris, his 21-year-old legs should easily absorb the 61 minutes played in Frisco, Texas. It’s his wounded heart that could take a little more time.

“It’s a hard loss; we’ll deal with that,” Schmid said. “We talked a little bit. I said, ‘Just go through practice today light, and we’ll talk a little bit more (Friday).’ I think it’s important not to suffocate a young player. So you want to give a young player some room to grow and express themselves. For him right now, I think it’s a situation where the pressure might be off a little bit, with the qualification series over, and now he can really focus and adjust into playing in MLS.”

ADDED TIME

Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson and assistant coach Ante Razov are nominees for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2016 elections, both for achievements over their playing careers. Voting will take place over the next three weeks, and results are expected to be announced soon thereafter. … The Sounders return to training Friday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

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