Five things we saw from Sounders’ win over Sporting KC

The Seattle Sounders showed an impressive minority on Saturday by beating Sporting Kansas City 4-1. The stars of the show were none other than Jordan Morris and Léo Chú, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the squad didn’t put in a solid performance from start to finish. Here are the five most notable things we saw from Saturday’s win:

Jordan Morris this, Jordan Morris that

Fourdan Morris. Jordan Fourris. Count to four goals? no sweat You pick your favourite, it doesn’t change, Jordan Morris has dropped four goals on Sporting Kansas City’s head. The first Sounders player to score four goals in an MLS game and only the 17th time that an MLS player has scored at least that many goals in a game. He was also the first player to do so away from home since Clint Mathis scored five goals in an away game in 2000. All of that and he passed Clint Dempsey for 3rd all-time in the club’s all-time goalscoring list. Not bad.

There’s this underlying narrative that’s surrounded Morris throughout his career that he kind of didn’t live up to the hype. Without already derailing my entire column and delving into a postmodern existential inquiry into how hype is unattainable by definition, let’s just put it all aside. Morris doesn’t exist for outsiders’ proxy wars over home talent development or the national team or anything like that. Morris plays for us. He’s a sounder. He’s one of us. Above all, we should step up the bullshit and enjoy what we have, because players of this special don’t come around very often.

Has Leo Chu arrived?

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t have “Léo Chú sets MLS record for assists in a single game” on my bingo card prior to this match. Or really any match. It hadn’t been an easy start to Chú’s Sounders career and it seemed like this season would be something of a turning point for his role on the team. Four assists in a game actually changes a player’s trajectory, and it will be interesting to see where Chú goes from here. I found this quote from him interesting during the post-game media availability:

“I had some difficulties (7) months without starting a game. i worked hard It’s a process. You’ve moved to a new country, learned a new language and are now having a baby. I’m glad I could help the team. Hopefully this is a fresh start.”

One important thing to remember when developing players is that things rarely happen on a linear timeline. Players are human before they are anything else, and they deal with emotions and struggles just like you and me. Hope this really is a fresh start, Leo.

Fix the road problems

At the beginning of this match, the Sounders were without a win in 10 away games (1D, 9L). That being said, Seattle had only won once in Kansas since 2013. Whether we liked it or not, we would learn a lot about this team from this game. Look, it’s just Sporting KC. You suck this year. But all you can do is beat the team in front of you. A win against SKC like on Saturday will give the squad a lot of confidence on their way to more wins away.

Learn a lot after a slap in the mouth

To deviate from my previous topic of conversation, I think the way they won taught us a lot about the prospects for this season. Look, last season the Sounders went 0-1 in the first five minutes of an away game and the most you can realistically hope for is a draw. Of the Sounders’ three road wins, they scored first place in all of them. Admittedly, the stench and angst of last season will linger for a while, but the way the Sounders reacted on Saturday does much to refresh the psyche and calm some fears.

Sporting pressed his goal from Seattle in advance. Then the Sounders decided to be absolutely pressure resistant for the next 15 minutes to shatter any hope SKC had. I wrote in the preview of this game that SKC is about creating a goal by counter-pressing from the left. After the goal fell just like that, the Sounders avoided that side of the field for a while, building through Rowe, Chú and Lodeiro. Once they were more comfortable, Seattle could use Roldan and Rusnák to manipulate SKC’s pressing down that side, meaning SKC couldn’t deploy as many numbers to stop Seattle’s left side.

No excuses for absences

Over the past few MLS seasons, the Sounders have had the opportunity to avoid international breaks. That didn’t seem like an option for any MLS club this weekend as Saturday saw a packed schedule of games. The Sounders were missing six caps and another player (Héber) was absent through injury.

Some teams in this league see the fact that missing seven key players is an excuse to lose a game 6-1, but not this Sounders team. This was an opportunity for the guys to believe in themselves, shuffle the cards a little tactically and go out and win a match. Well done.

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