Sounders forward Jordan Morris’ first season playing in Europe has ended abruptly with what has been diagnosed as “significant” damage to his ACL. Swansea City A.F.C., a Welsh club that plays in the English Championship League, confirmed the injury Monday.
Morris, 26, was loaned by the Sounders to Swansea in January. The transaction was heralded by all sides as an opportunity for Morris to fulfill a dream of playing in Europe, Swansea wanting a dynamic player to help secure a promotion to the Premier League and the Sounders acquiring funds for their 2021 budget.
Morris suffered the injury to his left knee while making his fifth appearance for Swansea on Saturday. He entered the match as a halftime substitute, landing awkwardly on a play in the 63rd minute.
“He has had a bad injury, unfortunately, there’s significant ligament damage, (to his) ACL,” Swansea coach Steve Cooper said on the club’s website. “Everything we hoped it wasn’t, it has turned out to be.
“It’s the end of his season with us and a long road back to recovery for him. It’s a cruel injury anyway, but in terms of him fulfilling his ambition to play in Europe, and embracing what we are trying to do here, it is a really tough one for him and us to take.”
The Sounders stated Monday that Morris will return to the U.S. to undergo surgery with Dr. Bert Mandelbaum in Santa Monica, Calif. Morris’ loan ends in May and although Swansea has an option to buy his rights — which could net the Sounders upward of $10 million — it’s doubtful Morris showed enough of his talent to warrant the purchase.
“We have been in touch with Jordan and he has our full support during this difficult time for him and his family,” said Garth Lagerwey, the Sounders general manager and president of soccer, in a team release. “It’s important to us that he get the best care possible, as well as the most comfortable environment to recover.”
A recovery timetable will not be known until after the procedure, but it will likely impact Morris’ U.S. men’s national team career. Multiple international tournaments are slated for the summer, including CONCACAF Gold Cup matches, where Morris was expected to play a key role.
MLS hasn’t released its 2021 schedule but Morris could be available for a playoff push this fall.
“First and foremost, we are gutted for him,” Cooper said. “It’s obviously a blow for us because he was just about getting up to speed and pushing to get into the team. We gave him a spell of getting fit, so it is really unfortunate in many ways.
“One thing I’d say about Jordan is that he’s a good player, but he’s an excellent professional. Even though he’s only been here a short space of time, we’ve seen from the first minute that he’s a really good person and really commits to his profession.”
Morris made his EFL debut Jan. 30 and has started one match.
This is the second time Morris has had a season end with a severe knee injury. He tore his right ACL during a CONCACAF Champions League match in 2018, missing the entire MLS season.
Morris returned in 2019 to win the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award as he scored 10 goals and had a career-high seven assists in helping the Sounders advance to a MLS-record 11th postseason berth. The Sounders capped the season by winning the 2019 MLS Cup.
The Mercer Island product originally was signed by Seattle in 2016. Morris has bagged 41 goals and 23 assists in 121 MLS appearances, including playoff matches, and was named to the league’s Best XI last season.
“Having gone through this before in 2018, seeing Jordan suffer another injury of this nature makes it equally devastating and hopeful,” Lagerwey said. “We know firsthand the resilience of his character and look forward to the day he steps on the soccer field again. In the meantime, we’re focused on welcoming him home and making sure he has the full support of our club.”
NOTE: The Sounders announced Monday it acquired $50,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) from Nashville SC in exchange for the Homegrown Priority to defender Nick Hinds.
As part of the agreement, the Sounders will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee for Hinds. Hinds, who was developed through the Sounders Academy, made 68 USL appearances for the Tacoma Defiance and played collegiately at Akron.