Jordan Morris scores brace in return to MLS action against FC Cincinnati

Jordan Morris

Seattle, Washington (March 3, 2019) — It was pretty much picture-perfect from start to finish for the Seattle Sounders.

Aside from an early goal from FC Cincinnati’s Leonardo Bertone, the Seattle Sounders showed dominance in their season-opener against the newest MLS club on Saturday night. FC Cincinnati’s first-ever goal in MLS franchise history couldn’t keep Seattle down for long. Instead, Kelvin Leerdam had other plans.

Morris scores brace in return to MLS action against FC Cincinnati

The right back defender slotted in a goal in the 27th minute. However, pure emotion swept fans off their feet at CenturyLink Field in the 33rd minute.

Last year, Jordan Morris missed the entire season due to an ACL tear in CONCACAF Champions League match training. However, this year, after plenty of rehabilitation, Morris returns to the Sounders. He made that return count in front of the home fans. His goal in the 33rd minute finished off with his teammates tackling him to the ground to celebrate. Morris was visibly emotional and his teammates knew what the moment meant for him.

Morris added to his emotional return by adding a second goal in the 43rd minute.

However, Seattle wasn’t quite done. After seeing Morris score two goals, forward Raúl Ruidíaz wanted to get in on the scoring. He picked up from last season, where he led the team in scoring with 10 goals, despite only arriving to Seattle in July. Ruidíaz found the back of Przemyslaw Tyton’s net in the 87th minute.

Seattle earned some revenge against new clubs entering the MLS. Last year, in the club’s home opener against Los Angeles FC, Seattle fell, 1-0. However, this year, Seattle picked up the pace and refused to give Cincinnati an easy entry into MLS play.

Meanwhile, FC Cincinnati did manage a positive with the first MLS goal in club history. Bertone set the tone of the match for Cincinnati early, refusing to play defensive-minded. Cincinnati was not afraid to press the Sounders, despite the scoreline.

However, before the match even began, there was emotion for both clubs. The Sounders honored late, former head coach, Sigi Schmid, by inviting his family onto the pitch. Schmid passed away this past December.

Three Takeaways

  1. Give Jordan Morris all the credit: Coming back from an injury is tough. However, coming back from a torn ACL is brutal, tough and takes a whole lot of strength. Morris was the team’s biggest cheerleader last season, despite having to watch successes from the sideline. He worked hard with his rehab and tonight he reaped the award. It’s a big moment for him, but now he needs to build off it. He has the ability to score goals. His partnership with Ruidíaz up top can only get better.
  2. Brad Smith edges out Nouhou — for now: In training camp, the main battle was focused on defense at the left back position. Brad Smith is on loan with the club until July, but there’s a chance Seattle could buy him. However, Smith battled with Nouhou in training camp. For the first regular-season match, he earns the start. It’ll be interesting to see if head coach Brian Schmetzer will keep Smith as a starter or swap Nouhou in for the next contest.
  3. Cristian Roldan can be the next Ozzie Alonso: This past offseason, Osvaldo “Ozzie” Alonso departed the Sounders and headed to Minnesota United. With the swap, Cristian Roldan has moved down to a more defensive midfield role. In Schmetzer’s 4-2-3-1 he was part of the two-man defensive midfield, alongside Gustav Svensson. Roldan put in a solid shift and pairing him with a veteran like Svensson can only help him grow.

What’s Next?

For FC Cincinnati, the welcome into MLS isn’t getting easier.

On Sunday, March 10, the “new kids” of MLS will head down south to face Atlanta United FC. The reigning MLS champions will start their regular-season on Sunday against D.C. United. The match against Cincinnati will kick off at 5 p.m. ET.

Meanwhile, the Sounders will remain at home, hosting the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field. Colorado tied Sounders rival, the Portland Timbers, on Saturday, 3-3.

Saturday’s match will begin at 7 p.m. PT.

Main Photo: Jordan Morris celebrates his first goal of the 2019 MLS regular-season against FC Cincinnati on March 2, 2019, at CenturyLink Field. Morris missed the 2018 season due to injury, so the return was monumental for the forward. Photo courtesy of Mike Fiechtner/Seattle Sounders FC.