Seattle Sounders' options in aftermath of Jordan Morris' season-ending injury

The Seattle Sounders have ruled out U.S. international striker Jordan Morris for the 2018 MLS season after he suffered a knee injury in their Concacaf Champions League match in El Salvador on Thursday.

Doctors will wait until the swelling has gone down to perform surgery on the knee, probably in the next few weeks, and determine if there is any other damage to Morris' knee than to his ACL.

Morris went down on the turf at Santa Tecla's Estadio Las Delicias, suffering the non-contact injury -- which his father, team doctor, Dr. Michael Morris, immediately determined to be an ACL tear -- when he went to cross the ball from the left side late in the game the Sounders lost, 2-1.

“We are going to approach this as what is best for Jordan’s career long-term," said Sounders president of soccer and general manager Garth Lagerwey. "We think he is a Sounder for the long term, he is in the organization’s long-term plans. We are going to have to sign a forward to replace him for this season.

"Jordan is part of the Sounders. That has not changed, that 's not going to change. We are going to do what’s best for him long-term. That might mean a longer recovery from this ACL so we don't put him in a position that he might re-injure himself.”

What made the injury so tough is that Morris had come back from a hamstring injury that kept him out for four months late in 2017 and forced him to miss the final U.S. World Cup 2018 qualifers after scoring the winning goal in the Gold Cup final.

"He had come back from the hamstring issue and been healthy for a couple of months and had been playing better and better," said Lagerwey. "He had been part of the [January] national team camp and banged a couple of goals in preseason. We really felt good about him and felt he was in good form."

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Lagerwey said the Sounders had not been focused on signing a forward like Morris, whose pace complemented the other forwards they have in Clint Dempsey and Will Bruin.

''We had a really good complement of skill sets of playing in that position in a 4-2-3-1," Lagerwey said. "Obviously, we're going to have to revise our search a little bit."

Lagerwey also tried to play down concern about the impact Morris' injury will have on the Sounders, noting they lost one game in four months without him last fall and advanced to MLS Cup.

"We are underrating our locker room and our players," he added, "and disrespecting those who got us here."

With that said, Lagerwey said the Sounders will need to go out and sign a new forward to replace Morris for the 2018 season.

Some of the variables they will play into the decision:

-- DP signing or TAM signing? The Sounders has the ability to manuever and go either way.
-- Signing in MLS's primary or secondary window? A signing in MLS's primary window will fill the void immediately; more players are available in July though there is more competition for players.
-- Signing a player looking to for playing time before the World Cup? Lagerwey noted that MLS will be the only major league whose window will still be open as of Thursday for players looking to bolster their chances of making a World Cup roster. (China's window closes on Wednesday. Russia's closed last Thursday).

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