This has not been the dream start so many had envisioned for Jordan Morris when he signed with the Seattle Sounders this offseason. Including his two CONCACAF Champions League starts, Morris has now made six appearances and logged more than 400 professional minutes. He has yet to score or pick up an assist and has taken just three shots.
Perhaps more frustratingly, Morris has looked a bit tentative in recent appearances.
While not entirely acknowledging that possibility, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid has recently indicated that he's trying not to put too much pressure on the 21-year-old.
"I wanted Jordan to find his game, enjoy his game," Schmid recently said when asked why Morris came off the bench for the first time on Saturday. "There's been a lot of pressure heaped upon him, not least of which from you guys (the media). It's sometimes good to take a step back. If the front door is locked, you take a step and look at the back door and make your way in that way."
The struggles have also been noticed by United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann, who bears at least some of the responsibility for the Morris hype after making him the first American collegian in the MLS era to earn a World Cup qualifying cap.
Klinsmann doesn't seem particularly worried, though, and indicated that Morris' place in the national team setup is reasonably secure.
"Jordan is going through a huge learning curve right now which is really cool," Klinsmann said in a Tuesday Facebook Q-and-A. "For Jordan now it's a learning curve game-by-game to really understand what the professional game demands. It's a lot more physical, it's a lot faster compared to what he was used to coming from the college system.
"Jordan is a personality that learns very quickly, so obviously we will watch him now and see how he gets his feet wet in MLS and how he's coming through. We are very confident his learning curve will go very fast and we definitely see him continuing to be a part of the senior national team. No problem at all."