Despite not scoring his first goal until Week 6 of the MLS season, Seattle Sounders rookie forward Jordan Morris has been on a bit of a hot streak in the last few weeks. His goal against the Philadelphia Union flicked a switch in Morris' game, as he's scored goals in both matches since. Morris himself is a little shy when talking about his own performance, but he admitted after Saturday's win over the Columbus Crew that it's been quite a relief: "You get your first one, you can go out there - and this is the life of a forward - but you go out there and play a little more free and with a little more confidence and goals like the one today just kind of come."
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid shared a similar sentiment on Monday after the team's first post-Columbus training session, saying that "I think scoring the first goal you get some confidence, and if you feel better you're more willing to pull the trigger, you're more willing to make those runs." Schmid also mentioned that Morris' form is both a product of and a boon to how his teammates play with him, that they understand his play better after seeing him at his best. He said that Aaron Kovar played in an excellent ball for Morris against Columbus, but the forward took an extra touch and couldn't make the most of it.
Morris' play with Clint Dempsey has certainly improved as well, and Schmid said that the veteran has started to learn how to play the rookie's game by knowing when and how to play through balls. Dempsey said earlier this season that he and Morris have very different styles of play, that while he preferred to play "give 'n go, 1-2" passes, Morris was better at latching onto through balls behind the defense. The pair's understanding of each others' respective style was on display against Columbus, as Morris played 1-2 passes to Dempsey around the penalty area a few times, and Dempsey attempted to put Morris through on a couple occasions as well. It's still a work in progress, but the chemistry between the two forwards is definitely improving. Sigi Schmid noted a promising, but ultimately disappointing moment from them against Columbus, "where Dempsey comes inside and he overlaps around [Morris], Parkhurst trips him off the ball and nothing gets called. That's a red card, because if he doesn't trip him off the ball, he's in and scoring the goal."
The positioning of Morris has also been a bit of a talking point, and even though Schmid has moved the player around the front three, he insists that Morris' best position is on the right wing. "He's scored two of his three goals playing from the right. He gets the goal from Ivanschitz when he's coming from the right, he gets the goal in Colorado where he's on the right and the ball comes through and he beats the guy and shoots." So even though Morris has plenty of experience at the college (and some at the international) level, he's had to learn to improve on even his greatest strengths. Schmid said that Morris' instincts regarding when to come inside from the right and when to make runs behind the defense have improved vastly, and his goalscoring form reflects this.
But more than where he fits on a lineup sheet, Morris' run of form is due more to his consistent hard work and education as a professional, something that only comes from experience. All three of his goals have looked very different, but they all reflect the player's talent and nose for goal. Veteran forward Herculez Gomez, who played most of the Saturday's match alongside Morris, said after the match that he gave Morris some advice earlier this season that had been given to him when he was a young player: "I told him if at any point during the game you don’t know what to do, just put it in the back of the net - and he’s done pretty well."