After a season in which nothing went as planned for the Seattle club, Jordan Morris has put together the best rookie campaign in MLS history.
Heading into the 2016 MLS season Seattle thought it just might finally be their year. They were wrong, then they were right. Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins would continue to lead the front line, while DP Nelson Valdez would add depth. Also promising, was the signing of first overall draft pick Jordan Morris, but he was for the future.
The first half of Seattle’s season was a reoccurring nightmare. Obafemi left right before the season started for a big money contract in China. A new 4-3-3 formation had the Sounders sit at the bottom of the table.
Nelson Valdez wouldn’t score a league goal all season – ALL SEASON. The club’s only coach in MLS history, Sigi Schmid, was fired in July. The final blow was talisman Clint Dempsey’s exit for the rest of the season due to a heart condition.
It should have been a down year, or at best a ‘rebuilding year’. But Jordan Morris had other plans. There is probably no other rookie in league history that has had more pressure piled on in year one.
He was the first college player to start and score for the US Men’s National Team in over a decade. He won college soccer’s player of the year award, winning the national title in 2015. #1 draft and home grown hero.
Thrust into the starting line-up from the start, expected to replicate the goals of Martins, and carry the team. 43 appearances in his first professional year and 14 goals later Morris delivered.
Cyle Larin scored more goals as a rookie, and other MLS vets scored more this year, but it is about the importance of the goal’s Morris tallied. They were game winners, point saving goals.
When the team lost several leaders he stepped up, and has the Sounders farther than they have ever been before. True Nico Loderio has played a massive role in the turnaround. But if Seattle win MLS Cup this weekend, Morris will likely get the goal and forever cement his place as the league’s best rookie.
He is the future of the Sounders. He can be the future of the MLS and the USMNT. He should be in Russia in 18 months at the World Cup. Ten years from now he could very easily be the all-time goal scorer in the MLS and the face of US Soccer. For now just enjoy the exciting play of the young striker.
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