If anyone was frustrated at the Sounders FC on Sunday, think of how Jordan Morris felt for most of the match.
The U.S. international has missed some gorgeous scoring opportunities this season. The kind that would create grumblings if it weren’t for the fact that Morris is barely a year removed from a second ACL surgery.
Down a goal early, one of those seemingly easy chances whiffed in the 37th minute against Charlotte FC. Teammate Cristian Roldan sent a perfectly placed cross for Morris to cut into the net, the ball instead skimming right past the goal line.
Morris was visibly upset at himself for missing the sitter. But he kept pushing, visibly determined to any of the 32,763 in attendance that he wasn’t going to let that be the way the night ended.
Redemption took time, Morris heading home an equalizer in the 72nd minute. Sounders striker Raul Ruidiaz sent a jaw-dropping screamer into the net for the game-winner in the 80th minute.
Seattle’s 2-1 win was the proper introduction for Charlotte FC, the latest MLS expansion club to make their inaugural visit to Lumen Field. The Sounders are now 6-2-4 all-time against league expansion teams since 2010.
Charlotte conceded early goals in three of their past six matches. Sunday was their turn to strike early. Sounders midfielder Albert Rusnak was called for a foul in the 20th minute that set up a free kick inches outside the box.
Sounders keeper Stefan Frei deflected the attempt off the cross bar but it bounced back to Crown midfielder Benjamin Bender, who used a left-footed tap to net his second goal of the year in the 21st minute.
Frei had a two-handed save in the 40th minute to keep Charlotte from taking a two-goal lead into the break.
The Sounders (5-6-1) wore neon orange T-shirts during pregame warmups in support of the Wear Orange Movement. The organization calls for an end to gun violence.
There was also a moment of silence for victims. There have been three mass shootings in the past two weeks. One was against Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The second was at Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, California. The most recent was a predominantly Hispanic elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer fielded his first-choice starters Sunday. Right fullback Alex Roldan returned from a one-game suspension while midfielder Nico Lodeiro was on paternity leave.
The Crown (5-8-1) made four lineup changes from last week’s home win against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Seattle has a two-week hiatus from games due to the FIFA international break. Cristian Roldan and Morris were called up for U.S. men’s national team friendlies to begin prep for the 2022 FIFA men’s World Cup in Qatar this fall. Reed Baker-Whiting was named to the U.S. U-19 roster for friendlies while Slovakian international Albert Rusnak was called up for the UEFA Nations League games.
NOTE: Sounders midfielder Joao Paulo underwent successful right ACL surgery last week, the club announced. The procedure was performed by Dr. Bert Mandelbaum in Santa Monica.
Joao Paulo suffered the season-ending injury in the opening half of the team’s CONCACAF Champions League win earlier this month. The Brazilian was a finalist for league MVP last season and scored six goals with 17 assists in MLS regular season competitions since signing in 2020.
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