Before their season has really even started, the Seattle Sounders have been dealt a massive blow. What was rumored over the weekend became official on Monday when Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey revealed that Jordan Morris has torn his right ACL and the team has elected to not bring him back this year.
Although the full extent of the injury won’t be known until he undergoes ACL surgery at a still-to-be-determined date and those typically require a 6- to 9-month recovery process, the Sounders believe there’s more risk in pushing him to return early.
“It’s a really serious injury,” Lagerwey told reporters on Monday. “The tests we’ve done so far don’t reveal further damage, but I want to be cautious and say that until we go in and do the surgery, we won’t know for sure. We are going to rule him out for the season. He’ll have surgery in a couple of weeks, once the swelling goes down, but we’re going to approach this as what’s best for Jordan’s career long term.”
The injury occurred in the 85th minute of Thursday’s CONCACAF Champions League game against Santa Tecla, as Morris was sprinting down the left wing on a breakaway. As he attempted to chip the goalkeeper, something gave way on his kicking leg and he crumpled to the ground. Morris missed several months late last season with a hamstring injury.
The injury leaves the Sounders in the awkward position of looking for a new starting forward. In the short term Will Bruin will assume the role, but Lagerwey stated that the team will be looking for a longer term solution as well, potentially even a Designated Player. Whether or not something can be done before the current transfer window closes on May 1 obviously remains an open question.
Making all of this doubly painful is that Morris had been looking strong in preseason and in the Santa Tecla match prior to his injury. Modern medicine being what it is, Morris will likely make a full recovery, but picking up where he left off is far from guaranteed and the Sounders are erring on the side of caution with the 23-year-old.