It took Jordan Morris seven games to score his first professional goal. Seven whole games.
Few would have predicted that Morris would take so long to score. After all, he scored in his first ever start for the United States. This was American soccer's golden boy* who the Seattle Sounders signed despite competition from several European clubs. And in MLS, playing for his hometown club where comfort wouldn't be a problem, Morris was supposed to make a major impact from Day 1.
And yet he didn't. He wasn't bad, but he sure wasn't a star.
That the Sounders as a whole were struggling didn't help. The team couldn't win and couldn't score. And this damn kid wasn't helping things. He was supposed to help things. Damn it, why wasn't he helping things? He could score against Mexico, but not Real Salt Lake?
There were questions. Maybe Morris wasn't as good as we thought? Another young American who couldn't live up to the hype. We had done it again - naming someone The Next Big Thing when he was just Another Thing.
Then Game 8 hit. And Morris scored. It was a clever play, with the striker getting in behind the defense, bringing the ball down, holding off a defender and flicking the ball home.
This was everything Morris was supposed to be. And that was the case again on Saturday, when he scored his second goal in as many matches thanks to a textbook low shot to the far post.
All aboard the hype train once again.
In eight days, the concern about Morris' start had disappeared. He was good again, an absurd thought since he was perfectly fine at the start of the season, but absurdity is the one trait that bonds sports fans.
Morris is playing center forward now, not out on the wing like he did earlier in the season. That has undoubtedly helped him, allowing him to get closer to goal and spend more time utilizing his speed and strength without the same worries about his final pass or defensive responsibility.
There was also the reality that Morris, no matter the hype, was entirely devoid of professional experience. He's a rookie. Rookies need some time to get their feet under them and figure out what playing every week against grown men who have tactics designed explicitly to limit your production is like. That Morris was able to hold his own right from the start isn't something to be overlooked, but he still had to figure out life in MLS, like all rookies do.
At some point later this season, Morris will struggle again. He's still a rookie and has never played an eight-month season before. He's certainly never done it at this level. He'll hit a wall and his legs will be weary. His play will dip.
The Sounders may not leave him at center forward either. They have cap room and a Designated Player spot. Clint Dempsey might have to move closer to goal. Any number of things can change the way Seattle plays, and Morris is but a cog, not a focal point.
And when all that happens, it's important to remember the start of the season before playing the "Is He Really That Good?" game.
Two goals doesn't make Morris a star, just like the start of the season didn't make him overhyped, although the Sounders may want to back off on Lionel Messi comparisons next time.
Seven matches was a small sample size. So is two. Morris is still figuring things out on account of that whole rookie thing. And the Sounders are in the same boat. While the kid is trying to learn MLS, the Sounders are trying to learn about him. And eventually things will settle down.
In the meantime, enjoy the ride because goals or not, it's pretty fun. Or panic or celebrate and overreact to every match. You're a sports fan. It's your birthright.
* A title since taken by Christian Pulisic, who may also have a rough patch at some point in his career, and people will react with the same panic that they did with Morris because at last check the Earth is still orbiting the sun.
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