It’s starting to look likely that Jordan Morris will get his first start as a forward in more than a year. With Raúl Ruidíaz limited in training — having shared an image of himself in a walking boot on Friday that was later deleted — and Will Bruin officially ruled out, the starting job seems likely to fall to Morris for Sunday’s match against LAFC.
The last time Morris started at forward for the Sounders was last February, the game in which he suffered a season-ending ACL tear. Although Morris has played most of his career as a forward, he’s been used almost exclusively as a wide midfielder this season.
While moving Morris up top is relatively straightforward, that would create some interesting choices for head coach Brian Schmetzer. The most simple decision would probably be installing Harry Shipp at right midfielder and leaving the rest of the lineup the same.
The more complicated — but potentially enticing — decision could be moving Cristian Roldan to right midfielder and Jordy Delem to defensive midfielder alongside Gustav Svensson. Roldan enjoyed significant success as a right midfielder last season, while Delem’s shutdown performance against Miguel Almiron last season could come in handy against someone like Carlos Vela. That move would also give the Sounders a bit more defensive bite, while not sacrificing much offense. The risk would lie in making an extra change and moving more players from the spots they’ve started to settle into this year.
The most aggressive change would probably see Handwalla Bwana inserted into the lineup. Somewhat complicating that move, though, is that Bwana has been mostly deployed on the left and that would require a bit more shuffling. One possibility would be moving Lodeiro to the right and Victor Rodriguez into the middle. This seems more likely to be a late game adjustment if the Sounders are chasing a goal, rather than a formation the Sounders are likely to start in.