The soccer news starts with bad news for USMNT player Jordan Morris and the Seattle Sounders. Morris tore his ACL in Seattle’s CONCACAF Champions League round of 16 game against Santa Tecla and will miss the 2018 MLS season. The 23 year-old missed significant time in 2017 due to injuries. That dropped his appearances from 34 in a debut season where he won MLS Rookie of the Year to 18. Morris made 13 appearances for the USMNT in 2017, a key part of the squad when healthy.
“We are going to do what is best for Jordan’s career long-term,” Seattle Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey said. “We think he is a Sounder for the long-term, he is in the club’s long-term plans. Jordan is part of the Sounders, that has not changed, that will not change. We are going to do what’s best for him long-term, which may mean a longer recovery.”
For the Sounders, the absence of Morris creates a new version of last season’s problem. He’s an attacking threat and a proven goalscorer in MLS. Though his production was down last season, his impact on the field wasn’t. Morris makes a difference when he plays. Figuring out how to minimize his absence wasn’t supposed to be Seattle’s story in 2018. The MLS Cup runners-up now face another difficult scenario with their attack. They made up for losing Clint Dempsey for the back half of the 2016 season by winning the title. Seattle fell just short last season.
2018 should be about closing the gap with the Eastern Conference. Right now, it’s turning into shifting roles while figuring out their attack. Morris was an obvious answer. Seattle will be picking players to try to find a way to minimize his absence. Though that’s not unfamiliar territory for this squad, it’s not easy shifting on the fly when there was a clear plan in place.
Very humbled by all the love and support. Thank you all! I’m so sad I won’t be out in front of you guys playing right now, but I promise I’ll work hard everyday to comeback stronger and get back on the field playing for the team and city I love #SSFC 💚💙 pic.twitter.com/U2BuR99hDJ
— Jordan Morris (@JmoSmooth13) February 26, 2018
American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta previews the MLS Eastern Conference. The Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell previews Sporting KC’s 2018 MLS season. ESPN’s Tim Vickery explains the situation in the Copa Libertadores.
The Guardian’s Barney Ronay considers Arsenal’s situation following their lopsided League Cup final loss to Manchester City. UEFA explains the changes to Champions League and Europa League qualifying.
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