SEATTLE — The last time Jordan Morris played a match at CenturyLink Field was the second leg of the 2017 Western Conference finals. That despondent streak ended in a preseason friendly against Uruguay’s Club Nacional de Football Wednesday night, when Morris subbed on and played 31 minutes in a 2-0 loss.
The announcement of Morris’ name in the 59th minute gave the home crowd occasion for its loudest cheer of the night.
“It was amazing,” Morris said of being subbed on. “It was a really long year with a lot of tough times. That’s what I was dreaming about through last year was coming back on the field, hearing the crowd and being back here at home. I love playing at this stadium, so even getting a little run out today was amazing because it felt like a really long time.”
The 24-year-old initially started on the left side, but eventually migrated to the right, where he was able to send in some of Seattle’s best crosses of the night. In the 87th minute, he spun a cross to Alex Roldan, but Roldan’s header went off the post to keep the Sounders scoreless.
“I like playing on both sides,” Morris said. “Obviously, whatever the team needs, I think the space opened up a little bit on the right side and I was able to get in and put in some crosses, which was great. I think there are some I probably could have done better on. My focus is, if I’m out wide, I still want to be goal-dangerous, but I think shifting out wide, a new component of my game is going to be putting balls into the box. Things to work on, but I think it was a positive start.”
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer felt that Morris looked up to snuff after an intense period of rehabilitation following his injury.
“I would probably leave (the diagnoses) to the experts,” Schmetzer said. “My eye test is that he looks pretty good, but I’m sure the performance guys are looking closely at all the mechanics, all the screening. All the jump tests, power tests. I’m sure they’ll try and get him ratcheted up even more. I think a lot of that is recovery in the sense that it’s strong, it’s all moving the right way. When you repair things, sometimes things get out of whack a little bit, but it all looked good to me.”
The club will remain cautious about Morris as they work him back to full match fitness. Wednesday night’s match, however, will mark in important milestone in the career of a dedicated athlete looking to return to form after a year of frustration.
“It was a huge honor,” Morris said. “I love playing for the fans here. We’ve got the best fans in the league. That’s what I was looking forward to. I’m looking to build on a lot of things, but it was great to be back running around.”