Good News For Fans From Seattle, Philadelphia And Chicago

Although many teams came prepared, Union, Fire, & Sounders fans are expectedly eager for 2016.
by Katherine Rupp   |   Wednesday, January 20, 2016

US Soccer Federation (USSF)

There are lots of things that are moving and shaking in Major League Soccer as preseason starts in less than a week, the January camp US men’s national team games are upcoming in about two weeks, the MLS SuperDraft has made a few former-college standouts become MLS players, and there are continuously player acquisitions and rumors. But even with all of that, take a breather and see what the young bucks are doing in MLS (or overseas) and how they could impact their teams this upcoming season.

One of the main points of interest for not only MLS fans but US soccer fans is Jordan Morris. The speedy forward who recently opted out of Stanford, will look for professional work in soccer. However, it’s looking more and more like there could be an interesting ‘battle’ of sorts – a decision battle – for Morris. He currently is training with German side Werder Bremen, which could turn into the start of his pro career, or Morris could start at home in Seattle and play in MLS with the Sounders. He has yet to publicly comment on the issue so the question is raised here: which is better for Morris? Playing in Germany or starting in MLS?

On one hand, joining MLS via the Sounders would be a safe bet but would also raise his game to the next level. With Seattle, he’d more than likely have to duke out a starting role, coach Sigi Schmid would have to play some chess with the formation to fit in Morris, or Morris could be given a starting spot to begin with. Although Seattle is the safe choice, it also gives him room to grow aspects of his game that he needs to improve, and it’s certainly more accessible for US national team callups.

Now on the other hand, staying in Germany with Werder Bremen would give him Bundesliga experience and Morris would play with and against some of the best soccer players in the world – for instance when the team would play Bayern Munich, Morris would face talents such as Thomas Mueller, Robert Lewandowski, and Manuel Neuer; against Dortmund he’d play side by side with Mats Hummels and Aubameyang; and against Monchengladbach, Morris would face fellow US national teamer Fabian Johnson, among many other incredible footballers. One down side is that Werder Bremen is close to the relegation battle in the Bundesliga and playing time could become a point of contention (read: he may barely play) if Morris picks Germany.

Playing in Germany would match Morris up against some great athletes and managers and football facilities but with the Sounders making smart moves and continually pushing for an MLS Cup trophy, it looks to be a hard decision for Morris to make. This saga looks to be close to having a conclusion, but whether Morris picks Seattle or Werder Bremen, he’ll be in good hands.

Although Morris is the standout player this year coming out of college who will be playing professionally, there have been some solid picks in the SuperDraft with great young men coming into Major League Soccer that could impress in their first year. Since preseason is imminent, keep in mind these names that will look to make an impact on their teams, especially for the Chicago Fire and the Philadelphia Union. Defender Brandon Vincent out of Stanford landed in the Windy City and could quite possibly make a big impact for the back four for Chicago. The California native looks like he has the chops to survive and thrive in Chicago as he’s already been called into the January USMNT camp, where two of his new teammates, Matt Polster and Sean Johnson, can help bring him into the fold.

A man traded from the Fire and was picked first in the SuperDraft who New York City FC are looking to for youth and intensity is Jack Harrison. Although he’s the main player NYCFC wanted, as a midfielder, he’ll have to hunker down and showcase his talents with an already star-studded midfield that includes Andrea Pirlo and Mix Diskerud.

Additionally, the two players who will to tag team the defensive line in Philly are Joshua Yaro and Keegan Rosenberry. Drafted 3 and 4, respectively, both Yaro and Rosenberry were bright spots at the Combine before the SuperDraft and having the highlight reel to prove it from their time in D.C. during college. Yaro, with his quickness and ability to read the field of play, will help the Union defense, while Rosenberry has the power and agility needed to supplement the center back qualities that Yaro exudes.

Although there’s a lot to be said for the excitment that the young faces bring in MLS – or overseas (i.e. The Morris Decision) – there’s also a lot of pressure. Whether Morris or Harrison, Yaro, Rosenberry or Vincent become the next Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey as they end up anchoring their national teams has yet to be seen but there’s still the unknown that’s exciting for these young men. When you attend a game this pre/regular/post season for MLS, make sure to keep them in mind and support them. They are talented individuals and will only get better.

Katherine RUPP

Drake University
Club Domestic:
Sporting KC
Club Foreign:
Tottenham Hotspur
Unabashed Minnesotan by birth. Tried reliving the glory days of collegiate intramural soccer championships but an ACL tear dashed future hopes of adult recreational greatness. Covering a city’s team that’s too big for one state: SKC.