MLS Cup win against Toronto helps validate staying with Seattle - Morris
Jordan Morris called his Seattle Sounder team's penalty-kick shootout win in the MLS Cup final against Toronto FC "unbelievable," adding that he was thrilled to have stayed with his hometown club instead of making a move to Europe after graduating from Stanford.
Morris, 22, was a homegrown player for the Sounders, but had trained with Bundesliga club Werder Bremen after winning the national championship in college and ultimately chose to play in MLS.
Although he and his Seattle teammates were largely held in check during 120 minutes of regular and extra time against Toronto, the team prevailed 5-4 in the shootout, making for a dream ending for the player whose father is the Sounders' team doctor.
Morris said after the match: "It's been an unbelievable year with a lot of ups and downs, but those two championships are something I've dreamed about since I was a kid. It's been amazing.
"I love it here [in Seattle]. I love being able to play for my city and represent my city and play for the best fans in the league and play in front of my family. It's been an absolutely unbelievable year and this just kind of caps it off.
"It was a very tough game, it was cold, this is a tough environment to come into, and all credit to Toronto, they are a very, very good team and they made it really difficult for us.
"But the thing about this team is we are a team and we always fight. Everyone is fighting until the last minute and at the end we were probably playing for PKs a little bit and thought we could win that way, which we ended up doing."
Seattle didn't register a shot on goal during the match, but were kept in it by finals MVP Stefan Frei, who saved a sure Jozy Altidore goal in extra time and made a save on Michael Bradley's PK attempt to help set up the win for the Sounders.
Frei was equally ecstatic following the match, crediting his teammates for not giving up even when they were out of playoff contention as the MLS regular season entered its final weeks.
"It's just about not quitting, you know," Frei said. "We put so much hard work into this. It's a credit to our keeper coach and my fellow keepers, we push so hard on a daily basis and I think that save [on Altidore] was a culmination of that.
The former Toronto FC keeper went through some hard times during his spell in Canada, but admitted that those hard times helped get him to the position he is in today.
"It was amazing. I think success feels like success when you go through hard times and hardship," Frei said. "I've always been fortunate to have good people around me and help me out and help me bounce back and they've got me into this situation today and we wanted to make the best of it and I think we did make the best of it and we'll celebrate that.
"As an athlete I think confidence is everything and once we strung a couple of results together, I think that confidence started picking up. We made an incredible achievement just making it into the playoffs, but we didn't want to stop there we wanted to make history.
"[Penalty kicks] are such a brutal thing you know. I love football for it being a team sport, but it's gotta come down to something right? Roman [Torres] on the night. A big center-back to step up and be calm cool and collected and the rest is history."
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