The Seattle Sounders weren’t even sure if Jordan Morris was going to play in the second leg of the Western Conference final on Sunday. He’d been sick and, if that wasn’t bad enough, the match was at altitude in Colorado. It took all of 10 minutes for him to look completely winded and you’d be forgiven if you thought he had to be subbed off ASAP. It wasn’t long after he has his knee twisted in a tackle and then was kicked across the leg. The entire match looked like the gods telling Morris to get off the field.
And yet it was that Morris that scored the lone goal in the Sounders’ 1-0 win that sent them to their first ever MLS Cup.
It wasn’t entirely different from the first leg of the tie, when Morris was battling a hamstring strain that most people expected would keep him out of the match. Yet there came Morris out on the field to start and score in the 19th minute as the Sounders came from behind to win 2-1.
The Western Conference final became the Jordan Morris Show. The rookie did everything. Complain about his lack of a left foot all you want — it was an issue a couple times — but it can’t overshadow everything else he did. And he did it all.
Morris had two goals in the tie. He created others. On a team with Nicolas Lodeiro, who was the best player in MLS over the second half of the season, Morris overshadowed him in the Western Conference final. And that was just in the attack. Morris did so much more. The Sounders put him back on the wing in part because of his defensive work, and he helped limit the Rapids out wide.
In the second leg, with Seattle struggling to keep the ball or push the ball forward, Morris dropped back more and more to get touches and helped drive the Sounders into the attacking half. He chased down Rapids players and helped win 50/50 balls. It was a complete performance.
Had any player done what Morris did in the Western Conference final, it would have been sensational. But Morris is a rookie. And he was dealing a hamstring strain. And he had the flu. And he was hacked down repeatedly.
None of that mattered to Morris, though. He was simply magnificent, no matter how much the gods tried to keep him off the pitch.
The scoreline for the two-legged aggregate tie will read: Seattle Sounders 3, Colorado Rapids 1. That’s the scoreline that put Seattle in MLS Cup for the first time. But there’s another way to look at it.
Jordan Morris: 2 matches he was supposed to miss and 2 goals led his team to MLS Cup.
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