Sounders Squeak Out Late Win on Jordan Morris Goal

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The Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew were two teams that many would have had pegged as definite playoff contenders for their respective conferences before the season started. But, as any MLS fan knows, anything can, and often does, happen in this league.

Coming into Saturday’s battle at CenturyLink, neither team was in playoff position with Seattle sitting on just seven points through seven games and the Crew having eight points through seven games. Not the start to the season either team had in my mind.

Sigi Schmid started the Sounders in their usual 4-3-3 formation with the key change being Zach Scott replacing Brad Evans in central defense while Evans served his suspension from last week’s game against the Colorado Rapids. Although, once the match started, it seemed to be more of a 4-3-1-2 with Clint Dempsey tucked closely behind Jordan Morris and Herculez Gomez up front with Aaron Kovar and Cristian Roldan playing alongside Osvaldo Alonso in the midfield.

With both teams needing the full three points to kick start their season, the match seemed to be wide open from the opening whistle, and the action never slowed. The teams combined for an impressive 32 shots (sixteen apiece) with twelve of those shots being on frame (eight for the Sounders).

Going deep into the match, it seemed that the up-and-down pace of the match and all of the attempted were all for naught as neither team seemed to bring their finishing boots. Enter Jordan Morris, again. In the 88th minute, an Eric Friberg through-ball finds a slashing Joevin Jones who cuts it back to Oalex Anderson in the middle of the box. The initial shot by Anderson was saved by Crew keeper, Steve Clark, but Morris pounced on the rebound and put the Sounders ahead.

After three minutes of stoppage time, the single goal by Morris stood alone and the Sounders picked up the much needed three points. And again, for the third match in a row, Jordan Morris reminded Sounders’ fans what all of the hype was about. After becoming the league’s highest-ever paid homegrown player, the season started off rocky for the youngster with no goals (and very few chances) through four games. It was easy to see that the rookie’s confidence had been shaken. The smart runs behind other teams’ defenses weren’t happening, the speed shown in USMNT matches was nonexistent. But sooner or later, goal scorers do what they do–score goals.

The Sounders now find themselves in the eighth spot in the west, three points out of playoff contention. But, even more importantly, they got an important three points heading into a tough three-game stretch. Next Saturday (May 7), they are home to the San Jose Quakes (currently 3rd in the west). The following Saturday, they travel to FC Dallas (currently 2nd in the west). And, on Saturday, May 21, they are back home facing the Colorado Rapids (currently 1st in the west), whom the Sounders lost to 3-1 last Saturday in Colorado.

In order to make it through that tough stretch, the Sounders are going to need more heroics from the young Jordan Morris or maybe, just maybe, get something out of the veterans for a change.

Main Photo: Otto Greule Jr, Getty Images