Over the course of two years, the "legend" of Jordan Morris has grown bloated and unwieldy. Seattle's newest Sounder joined training as a member of the first team for the first time Monday, accompanied by the biggest media presence of the preseason.
After practice, Morris was ushered in front of a camera with a series of recorders pushed in his face. The first-year pro was fielding questions from ESPN before even playing in a warm-up game.
The group interview started with an awkward question about the photo that Brad Evans took of Morris sitting in the front seat (allegedly a set up), but during practice Morris looked like was exactly where he belonged. Playing with guys he's known since before he became an Hermann Trophy winner at Stanford or a capped veteran for the US Men's National Team, Morris was just one of the guys playing a little footy in the desert sun. It's exactly where he wants to be.
"To be in a comfortable environment and know that this is my team and this is where I'm going to be is awesome" said Morris during the media scrum.
Morris made passes, took dribbles, made and missed shots like everyone else. The guy with the hopes of a city (and a nation) on his back ran unencumbered.
Hints of his impressive physicality and immense talent peeked out throughout the morning. During small squad scrimmages, teammates new and old weren't giving the youngster any time to collect himself (remember, he only flew in on Saturday). Vision and awareness were displayed with tight passes and deceptive footwork. Morris took a variety of shots during scoring drills, looking no better or worse than Andreas Ivanschitz, Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan or Darwin Jones.
Not that anything long-term should be gleaned from one Arizona workout. The future for Jordan Morris won't be determined in February or March of 2016 any more than it did last year for Jones or Victor Mansaray. There's no way of knowing when Morris will even get his first action; Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Nelson Valdez all stand as high-priced walls on the starting XI.
"If they need me to go, I'm ready to go" said Morris after the workout.