Mercer Island native Jordan Morris says his injured ankle is good to go and the Sounders will indeed start him against the Houston Dynamo in their season opener on Saturday in Texas
Sounders forward Jordan Morris has given his injured ankle a fair amount of rest the past two weeks, but the team’s intent was always to start him in Saturday’s opener at Houston.
And that’s exactly what will now happen as Morris trained with the squad on Thursday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila and told the coaching staff he felt ready to go. The Sounders finalized their roster at 25 players Thursday by adding S2 midfielders Jordy Delem and Zach Mathers to the first-team prior to boarding their flight to Texas afterwards.
“It feels great,” Morris said of his ankle. “I’ve had no issues with it, so I’m feeling good.”
The Sounders won’t reveal their starting lineup until an hour or so before they play the Dynamo. But Morris will be in there alongside veteran Clint Dempsey, who has also been slotted to start the game after working back from an irregular heartbeat that sidelined him last August.
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For Morris, who had an off-season of fewer than three weeks before he began training for U.S. Men’s National Team duty in January, he wouldn’t change a thing in how his preseason went.
“It’s good to go into a camp like that,” he said. “You’re going 100 miles an hour, getting your fitness in and you’re with top quality players, obviously, so getting ready for the season it’s great preparation and now hopefully I’ll continue that momentum when the games get going.”
Delem, 23, isn’t eligible to join the team in Houston as he prepares immigration paperwork, but Mathers, 22, was being considered. Only 18 players on 30-man rosters are eligible to dress for games.
The Sounders are keeping their roster a few players shy of the 28 spots reserved for non-homegrown players, having planned to give one to trialist Darrius Barnes, a veteran defender ex of the New England Revolution, who went down last week with an abductor muscle strain.
Barnes is rehabbing with the team and could be signed within the next couple of weeks if his injury heals sufficiently.
“We’re trying to get him healthy,” Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey said, adding he expects Barnes to be back before month’s end. “If he can get healthy…he’s had injury issues off and on for two years and that’s the biggest thing. I think that people know what his ability is when he’s healthy.”