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Jordan Morris wins MLS Comeback Player of the Year

He had spent all of 2018 out injured.

Mike Fiechtner / Sounders FC Communications

There were times last season when Jordan Morris had to be questioning whether he could really come back to be the player he was once. Morris was, after all, not only recovering from a torn ACL that would rob him of an entire year of soccer, but was also coming off a 2017 campaign in which he struggled to contribute on any sort of regular basis.

Morris surely put many of those doubts to rest in his 2019 regular-season debut when he scored a pair of goals to lead the Sounders to a 4-1 win and two games later he showed more positive signs with a goal and an assist in a road win over the Chicago Fire. But heading into the Gold Cup break, Morris was hardly lighting the world afire. Through 12 appearances, he was sitting on a rather unspectacular four goals and one assist.

Given his form and the fact that he was recovering from another injury, it was at least mildly surprising he was even included in Gregg Berhalter’s United States national team squad. However it looked from the outside, though, it turned out to be just what he needed. Morris at least played well enough to justify his pot on the team during the summer and returned to the Sounders a newly confident player.

“I remember going into to that first national team camp I got called into back in March and feeling really behind the pace and speed of play,” Morris told reporters on Monday. “We were doing possession drills and I just didn’t feel like myself. Coming into Gold Cup I felt better and then after Gold Cup started to feel really good with the Sounders.

“Coming back from Gold Cup was when things really started to click again.”

Morris picked up an assist in his first game back and then started playing arguably the best soccer of his career down the stretch for the Sounders. Over his final 10 starts, Morris scored six goals and added five assists before scoring his first professional hat-trick in the Sounders’ playoff opener on Saturday. Combined with his recovery from injury, it made him a rather easy choice to be named MLS Comeback Player of the Year.

“It’s an honor to win this award and I want to thank everyone who helped me get back on the field this year and who supported me during my recovery last year,” said Morris. “I’m so grateful to be back out there doing what I love.”

Morris is the third Sounder to win this award, joining Eddie Johnson in 2012 and Clint Dempsey in 2017. Like those former Sounders, Morris too has enjoyed a solid run of form with the USMNT. In two appearances since the Gold Cup, Morris has a goal and three assists and has seemingly established himself as a first-choice starter.

The five-year extension he signed during the offseason that will reportedly pay him as much as $1 million per year if he plays it out and reaches various incentives is now looking like quite a bargain.

“This is a very deserved award for Jordan, who has been extremely dangerous in our attack this season and a large reason why we are back in the hunt for MLS Cup,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “I couldn’t be happier for him after two years of relentless work, first to rehabilitate his body and then to work on his game. His season isn’t over quite yet, and we’re looking forward to his contributions the rest of the way.”

MLS Comeback Player of the Year voting

Jordan Morris (SEA) 21.58% 30.69% 32.43% 28.32%
Mark-Anthony Kaye (LAFC) 24.32% 21.78% 24.50% 24.50%
Kacper Przybylko (PHI) 6.51% 8.91% 9.65% 8.36%
Chris Odoi-Astem (DC) 9.59% 0.99% 8.11% 6.23%
Pedro Santos (CLB) 5.14% 6.93% 2.32% 4.79%
Ethan Finlay (MIN) 4.45% 6.93% 1.16% 4.18%

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