Obafemi Martins

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Report: Jordan Morris to be unveiled by Seattle Sounders on Thursday

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At long last, Jordan Morris has accepted the Seattle Sounders’ contract offer and will be announced as the Major League Soccer club’s newest homegrown signing at a press conference on Thursday, according to a report by Sounder At Heart.

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Morris, who recently trialled at Werder Bremen but ultimately turned the Bundesliga side down after impressing and earning plenty of praise, will become the highest-paid homegrown player in MLS history.

After playing three years of college soccer at Stanford University, and capping off his collegiate career with a national championship and a MAC Hermann award (top collegiate player) as a junior, Morris announced earlier this month he would forego his senior season at Stanford and head to Germany for the trial with Werder Bremen.

[ MORE: Alejandro Bedoya scores extra-time winner for Nantes in French Cup ]

Morris, who was born in Seattle, joined the Sounders’ youth academy in 2012. He would go on to score 28 goals in 32 games during his first year with the academy side, en route to winning the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-18 Player of the Year award for the 2012-13 season.

The signing of Morris will likely force Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid to alter his tactical strategy of years gone by, should he elect to throw the 21-year-old, seven-times-U.S.-national-team-capped forward into the first straight away. Rather than the traditional 4-4-2 Schmid has employed in recent seasons, 2016 could see the Sounders set out in a 4-3-3, with Obafemi Martins playing the lone striker role ahead of Clint Dempsey on the left and Morris, who would tuck inside a la Ethan Finlay of Columbus Crew SC, on the right.

MLS Snapshot: Houston Dynamo 1-1 Seattle Sounders

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The game in 100 words (or less): Where have the Seattle Sounders — you know, the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup contenders and/or favorites from six months ago — gone? And who thought it was a good idea to replace them with this slow, old and disinterested bunch we’ve been watching sleepwalk through the last three months of the 2015 season. With everything to play for on Sunday — a chance for a top-two seed in the playoffs, or the right to host their knockout round playoff game, at the very least — Sigi Schmid’s Sounders laid their latest egg, in the form of a 1-1 draw away to the Houston Dynamo. With one game left to play — at home vs. Real Salt Lake — Seattle need lots of help (two losses by the LA Galaxy, for starters) to finish top-two in the West, and no longer control their own destiny in terms of hosting the knockout round at CenturyLink Field.

[ MORE: East playoff scenarios | West | TFC 0-2 CLB | NE 0-1 MTL ]

Three moments that mattered

48′ — Deric out quickly to deny Dempsey — Clint Dempsey and Erik Friberg worked a clever give-and-go at the top of the 18-yard box to spring the former into a one-on-one chance against Tyler Deric. Unfortunately for the Sounders, Deric was up to the challenge, as has been the case all season.

65′ — Clark hammers home on the counter — Everyone in the world, including the Sounders defense, was convinced Brad Davis was about to cross the ball to the far post. Instead, the veteran winger waited for acres of space to open up at the top of the 18-yard box and cut the ball back to a late-arriving Ricardo Clark, who finished low and precise for a deserved lead.

81′ — Martins with another late equalizer — Obafemi Martins is making a habit of scoring late equalizers to make up for otherwise extremely poor Sounders performances (remember this one?). Andreas Ivanschitz whipped the ball into the box, the Dynamo didn’t deal with it, made the in excusable of letting the ball bounce inside the box, and Martins made them pay.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Ricardo Clark

Goalscorers: Clark (65′), Martins (82′)

MLS Snapshot: SJ Earthquakes 1-1 Seattle Sounders

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The game in 100 words (or less): With 10 minutes left to play at Avaya Stadium on Saturday night, the Seattle Sounders’ 2015 season was slowly slipping away. Down 1-0, they were barely 10 minutes from finding themselves in a four way tie for Western Conference playoff places four through seven, having played more games than their three competitors. Then, Obafemi Martins popped up with an opportunist’s goal to equalize in the 82nd minute and, at least for now, improve the Sounders’ playoff hopes just a tad. They’re by no means out of the woods following their 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, but now fifth is the worst they can find themselves once this weekend is in the books. For the Earthquakes, it’s a disappointing result for a side that so desperately need to hold on for three points at home. After winning three straight to get back into the race, they’ve now dropped five points in their last two games.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of Week 28 | Week 27 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

37′ — Wondo + post = ‘Quakes heartbreak — This is a textbook turn-and-shoot move from Chris Wondolowski, who definitely deserved a goal for the way he freezes Roman Torres, collects the ball, spins and fires with his left foot.

70′ — Alashe’s header makes it 1-0 — A great ball in from Matias Perez Garcia found Fatai Alashe, on Fatai Alashe bobblehead night, because of course, and the rookie midfielder/defender flicked a delicate, glancing header inside the far post to beat Stefan Frei.

82′ — Martins’ acrobatic finish makes it 1-1 — David Bingham did well to save Zach Scott’s powerful header from close range, but the rebound floated to Martins, who quickly spun away from goal and booted the ball into the back of the net with an acrobatic finish.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Obafemi Martins

Goalscorers: Alashe (70′), Martins (82′)

MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 27

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It’s been quite some time since we’ve discussed the New England Revolution in this space, and with pretty good reason, to be fair: a five-game losing streak from late-June to mid-July had Jay Heaps’ side looking like a team destined to miss the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs. In true MLS fashion, the Revs have followed up their month-long losing skid with a six-game unbeaten run, which includes five wins and four in a row.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 27 MLS coverage | Standings | Stats | Schedule ]

Their latest, a 3-0 hammering of a Kaka-, Larin- and Ceren-less Orlando City SC side Saturday night, was enough to earn four places in this week’s MLS Team of the Week (granted, only half the league’s teams played last week). Four saves and a clean sheet? Bobby Shuttleworth is there. Eight interceptions, three tackles and a clean sheet? Andrew Farrell is there.

[ MORE: Drogba’s first MLS goal, hat trick in his first start for Montreal Impact ]

Three assists on three goals scored? Lee Nguyen is there. One of those three goals and an assist of his own? Diego Fagundez is there as well. It was this time last year that the Revs got hot, finished the regular season strong and made their run all the way to MLS Cup. Given their recent form and the return of Jermaine Jones, would you bet against them to do exactly that again this year? I wouldn’t.

Thoughts? Questions? Agreements? Disagreements? (Of course not.) Leave them in the comments section, as always. I’m not afraid to defend my picks.

[ MORE: 2015 MLS Team of the Week archive ]

MLS Team of the Week — Week 27

Goalkeeper: Bobby Shuttleworth (New England Revolution)

MLS Goalkeeper

Defenders: Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution), Zach Loyd (FC Dallas), Atiba Harris (FC Dallas), Nigel Reo-Coker (Montreal Impact)

MLS Defenders

Midfielders: Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Diego Fagundez (New England Revolution), Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact)

MLS Midfielders

Forwards: Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders), Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union)

MLS Forwards

MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 2-1 Toronto FC (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): With the Seattle Sounders’ season slowly slipping away and the possibility of missing the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2015 quickly becoming a reality, Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey did what they do best in a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC Saturday night: run wild and score goals. TFC were surprisingly really good value for a point on the night after grabbing an equalizer just before the hour mark and and frustrating the two-man Sounders for much of the night. Big-time players make big-time plays, though, and Oba and Deuce are about as big-time as they come in Major League Soccer. With the victory, the Sounders (41 points) jump three places in the Western Conference, up to third, having played one, two or three more games than the four teams directly below them. TFC hold steady at fifth in the East, six points ahead of Montreal Impact and five points back of the second-place New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: Drogba’s first MLS goal, hat trick | Previewing the rest of Week 27 ]

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Dempsey to Martins, the dream combination — The last time Dempsey and Martins played together, the year was 1894 (it was actually June 13, 2015). They needed just six minutes to combine for a goal in their first game back together.

59′ — Zavaleta heads home to equalize at 1-1 — To all Sounders players: Marking the guys in red (or whatever color your opponents happen to be wearing during a given game) is a good idea. That’s Eriq Zavaleta, a former Sounder no less, standing all by himself at the top of the six-yard box. That’s the easiest goal he’ll ever score.

77′ — Dempsey pounces on Konopka’s epic blunder — Oh my, poor Chris Konopka. The TFC goalkeeper did the hard part — rushing off his line to take the ball of the foot of Martins — but couldn’t do the relatively easy part — hold onto the ball once it was in his hands. He spilled, Dempsey pounced and bagged the Sounders’ (extremely fortunate) winner.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Clint Dempsey

Goalscorers: Martins (6′), Zavaleta (59′), Dempsey (77′)