Seattle's newest Designated Player called Jordan Morris' shot 80-some minutes before it happened last Saturday against the Whitecaps.
Sounders midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro had a prescient message for rookie forward Jordan Morris prior to last Saturday’s 1-0 home win over the Whitecaps.
“I told him that he was going to score a goal,” Lodeiro said through a translator afterward, and it was indeed Morris’ 81st-minute header that held up as the game-winner.
Teammate Cristian Roldan experienced a similar phenomenon earlier last weekend: With his parents in town visiting from Southern California, he told his younger brother Alex that he was going to net the winning goal for Seattle University on Friday night against the College of Charleston.
“I didn’t expect him to score a free kick, but I definitely predicted that’d he score and he proved me right,” said Cristian of his brother’s strike three minutes into overtime at Championship Field.
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In that vein and in hope that I caught some of the foresight currently going around Starfire Sports, below are a handful of my predictions for the rest of this MLS season.
– Morris will win Rookie of the Year. Let’s start with an easy one.
The goal the Stanford product scored against Vancouver was his 10th of the season, tops among the league’s first-year players. Morris is just the fifth rookie in league history to hit double-digits, and his next goal would set the MLS record for an American rookie in MLS. His ‘Caps goal was his fifth game-winner this year, which not only set a record for first-year players, it’s tied for the overall league lead.
Philadelphia’s Keegan Rosenberry will also get a deserved look here, but as a defender he was always likely to be overlooked even after his outing to forget in Portland last weekend. New York City FC midfielder Jack Harrison started his season with a bang but has since cooled off.
Regardless of whether or not you think Morris has lived up to the towering hype with which he entered the league, statistically at least, the Mercer Island native is an obvious choice for ROY honors.
– FC Dallas will win the Supporters’ Shield but not MLS Cup. The club that hadn’t won a trophy since 1997 prior to last week’s U.S. Open Cup triumph will lift its second in as many months when the regular season comes to a close at the end of October.
Completing the trifecta come December, however, would’ve been a tough ask even before FCD lost star winger Fabian Castillo during the summer transfer window.
Winning three titles in a single season is a complicated endeavor even for the best of teams – ask the 2014 Sounders squad that lifted both the Open Cup and Shield but fell to Los Angeles in the Western Conference finals – and this Dallas group doesn’t quite have the firepower to get over that final hump.
– Colorado will earn a first-round bye despite averaging barely a goal per game, because soccer is an occasionally maddening sport that can reward staid discipline over attacking creativity. (See: Portugal, Euro 2016 champions).
– Sebastian Giovinco will run away with his second-consecutive MLS MVP award – as the first back-to-back winner in league history – but Toronto will fall victim to an upset in the conference semis. As always, treat TFC with a heavy dose of skepticism until proven otherwise.
– The Eastern Conference finals will bring together the two New York teams. Recently anointed Coach of the Year Patrick Vieira will receive the bulk of the plaudits in the lead up to the series, but Jesse Marsch’s Red Bulls will continue their recent dominance of NYCFC en route to a first MLS Cup final since 2008.
– The Sounders will make the playoffs, and they’ll do so at the expense of their biggest rivals.
Seattle is currently six points behind Portland in the Western Conference standings, but it does have a pair of crucial games in hand. The Timbers, the only team in the league that has yet to register a road win this season, play three of their final four matches away from Providence Park.
Portland’s season finale at Vancouver feels ripe for a Cascadian stunner that will reverberate up and down the I-5 corridor.
– How far Seattle goes in the postseason will depend on whether or not Clint Dempsey comes back at some point.
Hey, even that borrowed dose of Lodeiro magic has its limits – though Dempsey’s unexplained absence from Tuesday’s practice does not inspire the rosiest of outlooks. Ask me in a couple of weeks.