TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) — Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris will miss the 2018 MLS season because of a torn knee ligament.
The tear to his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee came during last week's CONCACAF Champions League matchup against El Salvador's Santa Tecla.
General manager Garth Lagerwey said Monday initial tests appear to show no further damage. He expects Morris to have surgery in the next few weeks once the swelling subsides. Lagerwey wants Morris to fully recover and therefore will not rush to get him back late in the season.
"We think he is a Sounder for the long term, he is in the organizations long-term plans," Lagerwey said.
After a dynamic rookie season in 2016 when he helped Seattle win its first MLS Cup title, Morris' career has dipped largely because of injuries. He missed much of Seattle's run to last year's league final because of an ailing hamstring. He appeared ready for a rebound season after a solid showing during U.S. national team camp in January.
Morris was hurt last Thursday in the 85th minute of Seattle's round of 16 matchup against Santa Tecla. Morris crumpled to the turf after taking an awkward step while trying to chip over the goalkeeper. The Sounders lost 2-1, with the return leg this week in Seattle.
The injury also extends to the national team. Morris is one of the prominent options at forward for a team that is rebuilding after failing to qualify for the World Cup.
"He had come back from the hamstring issue and been healthy for a couple of months and had been playing better and better. ... We really felt good about him and felt he was in good form," Lagerwey said.
Lagerwey said Seattle won't rush into finding a replacement for Morris — the club has options with Clint Dempsey, Will Bruin and Lamar Neagle. But this wasn't a position Lagerwey expected to fill on the cusp of the MLS season.
"We had a really good complement of skill sets of playing in that position in a 4-2-3-1 (formation)," Lagerwey said. "Obviously, we're going to have to revise our search a little bit."