Jordan Morris subbed into the game against Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday night with something to prove, a month and five days short of two years from the day that he scored the game-winning goal for the US against Jamaica in the Gold Cup Final. Since that game, he’s suffered a series of injuries including the ACL tear that kept him off the field for all of the 2018 MLS season. Those injuries also sidelined Morris on the fateful October evening in Trinidad when the US’s World Cup qualifying campaign came to a grinding halt.
The US was holding a 1-0 lead when Morris subbed in for newcomer Tyler Boyd in the 61st minute, and it took almost no time before he started to have an influence on the game. Mere minutes after entering, Morris played a ball across the six-yard box that went wanting. It may not have resulted in a goal, but it was a glimpse of what he’d offer as the game wore on.
Jordan’s first real contribution came in the 73rd minute when he jumped on a poor pass intended for one of the opposing midfielders and drove at the defense. As he entered the penalty box, Morris came under pressure, but some nice control allowed him to hold the ball before playing a pass to a ludicrously wide-open Christian Pulisic for the US’s fourth goal of the night. It was a combination of good alertness, pressure, and strong attacking instincts that will warm the hearts of Sounders fans and USMNT fans alike.
It only took another five minutes for Morris to pick up his second assist of the night, when he ran onto a nifty backheel from Jozy Altidore, drove into the box, and played a ball through the box that was placed perfectly between the defenders and goalkeeper for Paul Arriola to finish easily at the far post. This was the kind of assist that it’s easy to imagine Morris repeating consistently as a right-sided winger with the Sounders as he sets up the likes of Ruidíaz, Lodeiro, and Rodríguez.
It’s difficult to imagine Morris unseating Tyler Boyd as the first choice right winger for the rest of the tournament, but his strong performance likely earned him continued opportunities to run at tired defenses and maybe start against Panama with the US already guaranteed to advance. If nothing else, it’s good to see him healthy and putting defenses under pressure again.