Sounders forward Jordan Morris practiced on the side Monday after being sent home early by the U.S. Men's National Team to rehab his injured ankle ahead of Friday's game against Atlanta United
Sounders forward Jordan Morris is back early from the U.S. Men’s National Team as he tries to get his ankle ready for Friday’s game against Atlanta United.
Morris hurt the ankle a week ago Sunday and did not play for the USMNT in its win over Honduras last Friday. He did some running off to the side on Monday at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, but Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer could not say yet whether he’ll be out there when Atlanta comes to town.
“He’s out here running around a little bit, just seeing our (medical) guys who are taking a look at him,” Schmetzer said. “So, it’s day-to-day. I’d say day-to-day. He came back earlier in the year (from training camp in South Carolina last month) and it was day-to-day so that in itself, that experience helps him. He knows what to feel for and how he feels so we’ll just keep trying to progress him every day and then hopefully he’s ready to play on Friday.”
Morris was not made available for media interviews.
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But the Sounders so far have been cautious about brining guys back too quickly, especially in Morris’ case given his short off-season. Morris had only a few weeks of rest after the MLS Cup run and then reported to USMNT camp in January.
The Sounders do have top-notch substitute Will Bruin to play up top if Morris can’t go. Veteran goal-scorer Bruin got a long look against Club Necaxa last week and has impressed during the playing time he’s gotten so far after coming over from Houston in an off-season trade.
With Clint Dempsey looking red hot for the U.S. last Friday, scoring a hat-trick in a win over Honduras, the Sounders will likely be tempted to keep riding him once he returns later this week after playing Panama. That would leave the team enough depth up high to sit Morris for another week if his ankle doesn’t fully heal.
Bruin is also familiar with the Atlanta side, having faced them in an exhibition match in South Carolina last month in which the Sounders took a 4-2 defeat. The Sounders played mostly reservists and trialists to start that game and fell behind 4-0 before inserting their starters in the second half and slowly taking over the game.
“There was a lot of trialists and stuff playing in that game and they put out their first team,” Bruin said Monday. “Obviously, their mindset was to press us from the beginning once they saw the team sheet. I think the second half we were much better.”
Bruin said the Sounders learned a bit that day about not getting too cute when “playing out of the back” as they so often try to do.
Schmetzer said he expects a different type of game than that preseason affair. He laughed when asked whether his team might play a little more cautiously given how explosive Atlanta’s forwards can be.
“We’re at home,” Schmetzer said. “We want to impress our will on to teams at home. We’ll try to.”