SEATTLE — Jordan Morris had not started a match at CenturyLink Field for the Seattle Sounders in 538 days entering Saturday’s home opener against FC Cincinnati. In front of an announced crowd of 39,011, Morris made up for lost time, bagging a brace as the hosts took an emphatic 4-1 victory over the MLS debutants.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said Morris’ return from his ACL tear last February was a major moment for the club.
“There are times when I feel like a proud dad,” Schmetzer said. “That happens. I’m proud of all the guys in that locker room. I think they did a great job tonight. [They were] composed, even after the goal. Top to bottom, I thought it was a pretty good performance.”
The visitors struck first in the 13th minute, when Leonardo Bertone ran under a lofted Chad Marshall clearance and powered his volley past Stefan Frei for the first goal in FC Cincinnati history.
Seattle responded in the 27th minute, when Kelvin Leerdam cashed in the rebound on a Nicolas Lodeiro shot at the right post.
Morris notched the game-winner six minutes later, when a shot bound for the far post deflected off Cincy’s Nick Hagglund, wrongfooting keeper Przemysław Tytoń.
Morris bagged his second — and first career brace at home — in the 43rd minute. After Victor Rodriguez broke free down the left side and slotted a cross all the way across the face of goal, Morris smashed a left-footed effort to the top left corner.
After his teammates piled on him, Morris took a moment to wave to the home supporters as he walked back toward midfield, drawing a massive cheer from the crowd.
“It was amazing,” Morris said. “It was an emotional moment. My teammates helped me get through last year because there were some tough times. Then you come in this year, and I thought it would maybe take some time to get back to full and having my touches right. They were always so supportive, and to have that team embrace after the goal was really special.”
Seattle took the match to Cincinnati in the second half, outshooting the visitors 14-4 in the second frame.
Raul Ruidiaz opened his 2019 scoring account in the match’s dying minutes, using a long pass from Rodriguez to break through the back line before calmly finishing past Tyton.
The Sounders frustrated Cincinnati in possession, limiting the expansion franchise to 36.2 percent possession on the night.
The win was Seattle’s first in a season opener since 2015.
“I have to take some of [the emotion] out of it because we’re going to watch the film and try to get better,” Schmetzer said. “Our next opponent is a good squad, . . . It doesn’t get any easier, so we have to continue to drive and make sure that the team gets better.”
The next opponent is the Colorado Rapids, who will visit at 10 p.m. ET Saturday.
Mar 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; The Seattle Sounders celebrate after Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris (13) scores a goal against the FC Cincinnati during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports