Jordan Morris is back with the Seattle Sounders, prepping for the team’s away match against New York City FC on Saturday. He, along with Clint Dempsey, had been called up to the US national team earlier in preparation for his country’s two 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, missing two Sounders matches that he probably didn’t need to miss. The worst part, though, is that Morris didn’t even feature in the USMNT qualifiers against Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico.
Humble as ever, Morris didn’t appear angry or frustrated at his lack of opportunity, telling reporters on Wednesday that it was simply “an honor” to be in camp and train with great players. He said it was the first time he had been in national team camp with Bobby Wood, Dempsey, and Jozy Altidore at the same time, and just training with forwards of their quality was rewarding for him. But even if he’s understanding about his lack of playing time, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t disappointed. “It’s always tough not to play, but I understand because there are some very good players there.” Morris plans to keep working hard to earn minutes with the national team going forward.
Even though Morris didn’t feature for the USMNT in Mexico on Sunday, he was still there for the excellent match and atmosphere of the Estadio Azteca. “The atmosphere was amazing, when we [Sounders] went [for CCL against Club America] it wasn’t quite full but having it full and chanting the whole game, it was a really cool night and cool thing to experience.” Morris even said that experiencing the atmosphere at Azteca was an item he was able to check off his bucket list.
An SI article on the USMNT’s preparation for Mexico revealed that the team had been using special altitude tents over their hotel room beds to encourage altitude acclimation. Morris said the tents were just part of the team staff’s many preparations for the match, and that “It was a little weird sleeping in them but it felt cool knowing you were doing your best to get used to the altitude even off the field.”
Morris also praised his close friend and Sounders teammates Cristian Roldan’s inclusion in the 40-man roster for the 2017 Gold Cup this summer. “Obviously super happy for him as a friend, but also as a player, he’s done well this year...he deserves it” Morris said he hopes he and Roldan are both able to play this summer in what should be “a fun tournament.”
Even though Dempsey played in the USA’s first match against T&T, he joined Morris on the bench for what ended in a 1-1 draw with Mexico last weekend. Even though they had trained for that entire stretch, both players are back in Seattle and prepared to hop back on a plane to New York for Saturday’s match. Head coach Brian Schmetzer said both players were healthy and “itching to go,” leading him and his staff to schedule some extra finishing practice on Wednesday so those guys could “satisfy their hunger.”