Veteran striker Will Bruin will see the bulk of playing time up top in place of Morris, who suffered the injury Sunday vs. the Galaxy. Coach Brian Schmetzer said the injury is far more severe than last November when Morris “tweaked” his hamstring during the playoffs.
Sounders striker Jordan Morris likely will miss most of the remaining regular-season games due to a badly strained hamstring suffered in the draw Sunday against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Morris underwent an MRI exam this week, and the team was told the bad news after that. Veteran striker Will Bruin will see the bulk of playing time up top in his place, and Clint Dempsey and possibly Lamar Neagle could see time at that spot.
“We’re not talking about days anymore, we’re talking about weeks with this one,” coach Brian Schmetzer said Wednesday. “The MRI came back, and it showed a significant strain. He is a tough kid, and we’ll take it week by week.”
Schmetzer said the injury is far more severe than last November, when Morris “tweaked” his hamstring during the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. Morris eventually returned and played in the semifinals two weeks later.
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With five weeks of the regular season to go, the Sounders, riding a team-record 12-game unbeaten streak and battling for the top spot in the Western Conference, aren’t about to risk rushing back a player they consider their future at the striker position. The team heads to Dallas for a game Saturday that could be a playoff preview.
“We’re taking it week by week,” Schmetzer said. “He’s definitely out this weekend, and then time will be the good factor or the bad factor, whichever way you want to look at it.
“If he comes back in time to help us, great. If not, that’s totally up to his healing process.”
FC Dallas sits sixth in the conference at 10-8-9, six points behind the third-place Sounders at 11-7-10.
Bruin was a perennial starter up top for the Houston Dynamo in his first six MLS seasons before being dealt to the Sounders this past offseason. He sits second in team goals with eight despite seeing his playing time reduced as the younger Morris gets long looks up top. Bruin is used to taking a physical pounding and said his reduced minutes could be a bonus now that he’ll be called upon more.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “When September and October roll around, you start to feel it. It’s a long season, and like you said, not playing as many minutes as I’m used to, I still feel good — like it’s early on in the season and not the last few weeks.
“So I think that’s a good thing for this stretch.”
Bruin said he spoke with Morris about his injury and tried to boost his spirits.
“With Jordan, he’s such a great kid, such a good guy,” Bruin said. “You hate to see injuries, but for somebody like Jordan you hate to see it even more because of all the good stuff coming up and all the work that I see he puts in all the time.”
Bruin is a career 58-goal scorer who continues to display a knack for finding the back of the net. But a chief concern for the Sounders was his ability to produce at a consistently high level for 90 minutes given all the physical abuse he takes.
They’ve had similar concerns about Dempsey’s ability to go a full 90 at times. As a result, Schmetzer said the team might shift its style of play somewhat to compensate for the injury.
“We’ll fill in with Lamar on occasion,’’ Schmetzer said of Neagle. “We want to stretch the field. And getting some more attacks from our wide guys, that’s going to try and solve it.”
Torres red card appealed
The Sounders have appealed a red card and automatic one-game suspension handed to defender Roman Torres late in the Galaxy game for allegedly upending Jermaine Jones as he was headed toward the goal.
Some video reviews the Sounders saw appeared to show Torres’ knee making contact with Jones, but others did not. Defender Chad Marshall also was in the vicinity, and the Sounders contend that a red card should not have been issued because he also could have made a play on Jones. The Sounders expect to hear back from MLS this week.