DAVENPORT, Fla. — For two members of the United States men’s national team, this week offers a whirlwind turnaround from one challenge to the next.
Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan both enjoyed the height of American club soccer on Sunday when they were crowned MLS Cup champions alongside the rest of their Seattle Sounders team. They only had one day, however, to enjoy the champagne showers and celebrations before hopping on a plane to fly cross country for a pair of Nations League games with the national team.
For Morris, the transition from excitement to focus was just part of the job. But he added that clinching the club victory only adds to his intensity as he joins his American teammates.
“Obviously when you win big games like that, it gives you some confidence,” Morris said. “That only helps when you come into a game like this. We know how important this game is on Friday and I think we’re all excited to get a chance to play them again so soon.”
A month ago, each of the Americans left the 2-0 loss to Canada with the same sting of frustration. Returning to club play allowed many U.S. athletes to shrug off their frustration, and Morris pointed out that many of his teammates went on to thrive at the club level in the weeks following the loss.
Perhaps the highlight of that spark was Christian Pulisic, who went on to score six goals and add an assist in the games following the loss to Canada. But throughout the team, there was a certain lift.
That improvement at the club level, Morris said, will be a major impact into adding to the team’s confidence as it heads into a vital rematch set to kick off at 7 p.m. Friday at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.
“I know I was happy to have a game so close to that because whenever you have a bad result like that you just want to get back out on the field and play again and get back into a rhythm,” Morris said. “Obviously it’s great, guys are coming in with confidence, playing well and it’s gonna be a good one.”
Beasley to be honored
Former United States star Damarcus Beasley will be honored during a ceremony before kickoff of the team’s game against Canada on Friday. The ceremony is part of an initiative by U.S. Soccer to recognize all players who earn at least 100 caps at the senior level.
The veteran defender announced his retirement in May at the age of 37 after playing 11 seasons in MLS. After appearing in at least one game a year for the Americans for 15 straight years, he rounded out his international career in 2015.
Starting his career as an attacker, he converted to a left back to become the only male American to appear in four different men’s World Cups and to take part in qualifiers for five separate men’s World Cups. He is also one of only two male American players to win the Concacaf Gold Cup four times, earning the Golden Boot at the tournament in 2005 and wearing the captain’s arm band on the way to the 2013 title.
At the end of his career, Beasley held numerous accolades for the men’s national team — seventh overall in appearances, 10th in goals, 10th in assists and tied for second in World Cup match appearances.