Last week, it was Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte who shined for the U.S. Olympic team. This week, it was Aidan Morris’ turn as the Crew midfielder got the start Tuesday night at Phoenix Rising Stadium against Japan.
Heeeeee shoots and…
SCORES! In the 57th minute, only a very short time after Japan barely missed tying the game, Morris drifted into the 18-yard box and was completely unmarked. He patiently waited and was rewarded with a pass from Bryan Reynolds that he controlled with his left foot, before immediately turning and firing. Morris’ shot grazed the glove of the Japanese goalkeeper before finding its way to the net. The goal broke open a tight game to that point and helped the U.S. cruise to a 4-1 win. To put an exclamation point on his goal, he blew a kiss at the camera as the celebration was winding down.
That’s not all
That goal wasn’t the only contribution from Morris. He was his usual pesky self before leaving the game in the 63rd minute. The 21-year-old homegrown Crew midfielder was called for a foul, drew two fouls, and had five steals (by my count). He really didn’t get involved much on the offensive side until around the 35th minute. At that point, he began to look a lot more comfortable.
As expected, Patrick Schulte did not start. Chris Brady of the Chicago Fire began the game and made a few very good saves in the first half when Japan was getting the better of the play. He was replaced in the 71st minute by Sporting Kansas City’s John Pulskamp, who was also substituted for Schulte last week against Mexico.
You can breathe now
It’s great to see Schulte and Morris be honored with this opportunity to represent the U.S., but I think all of us were worried about one (or both) being injured. We can all breathe now, because both appear to have come away healthy and available to play in the Crew’s game against Montreal on Saturday.
This training camp and games are the beginning of the process for choosing the final roster for Paris next summer. Head coach Marko Mitrovic will now take the next few months to evaluate the individual performances. Although there is still a long way to go, Morris and Schulte most certainly made a good first impression.