Now that Jordan Morris is a Sounder, the thoughts can move on from will he/won't he into the territory of 'what does this mean for the Seattle Sounders?' He's clearly talented. But Seattle has three DP forwards. Morris will almost certainly start the season as a backup or rotational player. Think some combo of what Chad Barrett and Lamar Neagle were over the past two years.
Such a player can help a lot. That's 21 starts, 11 subs, 1800+ minutes and 8-ish goals over the last two seasons on average for those two guys. For a rookie that would be great. But most rookies do not carry the hopes of both the nation and the most popular American soccer team. Morris will. Here are what six experts who follow Morris think you should expect this coming year.
I hope the notoriously expectant SSFC faithful are patient with J-Mo, and I expect most of them will be. He'll score some goals, he'll provide important relief for the grizzled ObaDeuce partnership and he'll learn a lot. But he'll hit the rookie wall in late summer just like almost everyone does, and his relative inexperience will show itself at times when brains are needed more than legs.
Sounders fans should expect to see a player come in and contribute this season. He may not start right away, but he's got the physicality and athleticism to make an impact. How he adjusts to a higher level and improved defending will dictate his success, both this year and in the future.
As fast as he is, and as good as his predatory instincts as a scorer appear to be, none of us can truly guess right now how much he'll play for the Sounders. And we wouldn't have been able to guess how much he'd have played for Werder Bremen. I think he'll do well, and I think he'll score some goals, but what it's really going to come down to is how much Sigi Schmid is willing to take Clint Dempsey or Obafemi Martins off the field and turn Morris loose. Yes, I'm ducking the question a little bit - but I do think he'll get more playing time of consequence with the Sounders than he would have with Bremen, and I think that ultimately, he'll be successful. I don't expect that success to come immediately, but at a certain point I think he'll have proven that he has earned the right to be on the field when it matters.
Morris has to be the MLS Rookie of the Year favorite at this point, but that counts for nothing before a ball has been kicked. Realistically, I think he spends all or nearly all of the season with the first team, and would put him at around 8-10 goals for the season, all competitions.
I think it's very hard to tell what we can expect from Morris next season. Clearly he's a big talent if any Bundesliga team was trying to sign him before he played a pro game, but we're still pretty lacking in information. I don't think we should be surprised if he's just a decent backup, nor if he's the rookie of the year. I think it's OK to admit that, despite watching all his national team games, plus a wide selection of U-23, U-20 and Stanford games, we still don't have enough information. My guess is that he's a very good MLS player, but not quite as good as Cyle Larin was last season.
Jordan Morris has the strength and power, as well as the technical and tactical acumen, to play at the highest level of soccer now. He can play anywhere up front or wide depending on the system and he excels under pressure. I couldn't be happier for him as he moves up in the game.