TUKWILA, Wash. — The USMNT’s big win in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup was obviously a big deal for American soccer fans everywhere, but those involved with and fans of the Seattle Sounders had a bit more stake than most. Jordan Morris started the match and scored the late winning goal, assisted by substitute Clint Dempsey, who himself equaled the national team scoring record earlier in the tournament.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said that his enthusiasm was first for the team, as a fan, but even more so when it registered to him that it was Morris who scored the winner. “I loved it. I jumped off my couch. It was good, we were a little nervous at times, but it was good.”
While Morris’ big moment was huge for him, it was as much a story of redemption within the context of the final itself. Schmetzer was pleased to see Morris come back after his blown corner assignment led to Jamaica’s equalizer. “Everybody could see on TV how dejected he was after his guy scored on the set piece,” Schmetzer said. “For him to be able to persevere and come back and help his team win, it was great, it was good for a young player.”
Morris’ fellow Sounder and occasional US teammate Brad Evans was also excited for both the team and for Morris. “It was awesome. I was just watching it at home, so there was no real screaming or yelling or jumping up and down. You still feel those emotions. Obviously Jordan scoring that goal is just sweet, it’s nice. And then Clint getting the assist as well.”
But the most important thing that Schmetzer and Evans mentioned is that they hope to see Morris bring his shooting boots back to Seattle with him to finish out the rest of the MLS season. Schmetzer mentioned the excellent form of Cristian Roldan after he returned to the Sounders from Gold Cup duty with the US. “We saw what happened when Cristian came back from national team camp, we’re hoping the same with Jordan.”
Evans hopes that Morris’ big moment will do wonders for his confidence, which has at times seemed pretty low in his matches for the Sounders. “I think for Jordan it’s all about confidence. You bang away a goal like that and you feel like you’re on top of the world.” He similarly wants to see Morris get a bit more of an edge to him now, almost a swagger that top forwards often have. “He’s the reason they won that game, that’s the bottom line. He has to have more of that striker’s mentality and be a bit more selfish and know that he can take over games by himself with his speed, his pace, and his determination to be a top player.”
It’s not just about Morris’ mentality on the field for Evans, either. He wants Morris to stop being so nice all the time. “His interview afterwards said he was gracious to be a part of the team, blah blah blah. But in the back of his head he’s buzzing off that goal.” Instead of being deferential and modest, both off the field and on, Evans wants to see Morris take charge. “I’d like to see more of that out of him and him be an ass. Him being a nice guy has gotten him a long way, but I think he needs that bite.”
But more than anything, Evans repeated Schmetzer’s goal for Morris upon returning to the Sounders ahead of Saturday’s match in Los Angeles against the Galaxy. “So I hope that he carries [his form] over and know that we all have full confidence in him when he gets back.”