Morris set to make US return Saturday in friendly vs Bosnia
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Forward Jordan Morris is likely to play his first U.S. national team match in more than two years when the Americans face Bosnia and Herzegovina in an exhibition on Saturday.
Defender Aaron Long probably won’t appear in the game. The Americans will try for a team-record 17th win in a calendar year, which would top the mark set in 2013.
Morris, a 27-year-old Seattle Sounders forward, tore his left ACL on Feb. 20 while on loan from Seattle to Swansea, three years after tearing his right ACL. He returned to the field for the Sounders on Nov. 1 and appeared in three club games.
“He’s looked sharp the entire time,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said Friday after the final training session of a camp that started Dec. 6. “I’m really looking forward to him performing tomorrow.”
Long, 29, tore his right Achilles tendon while playing for the New York Red Bulls on May 15. He has not appeared in a game since.
“Aaron, he came into camp without having a full-team session, and he’s worked his way into full-team sessions,” Berhalter said. “He’s looked great. I’m really impressed with his rehab and how he’s got himself to this point. I’m not sure he’ll be able to play fully in a game tomorrow, but he’s certainly well on his way to being able to play in a game.”
With defender Bryan Reynolds the only first-team Europe-based player in camp — he’s made one appearance since Sept. 12 under Roma manager Jose Mourinho — 11 players could make international debuts.
Kobi Henry, a 17-year-old defender from second-tier Orange County, and Louisville’s Jonathan Gomez, an 18-year-old defender transferring to Real Sociedad next month, are in position to become the first players from a U.S. lower tier to play for the national team since Minnesota midfielder Miguel Ibarra in 2015.
Berhalter sounded as if Henry was unlikely to get on the field.
“Not necessarily ready for a senior call-up, but still holding his own in training,” Berhalter said. “Great attitude, great mindset. Any struggle that he has, he just brushes off and goes at at the next day. So I think he has a bright future.”
National team regulars from Major League Soccer who figure to play include New England goalkeeper Matt Turner, Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman and Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi, who may be sought by European clubs in the January transfer window.
“That moment is not yet to be,” Pepi said. “Whatever happens is going to happen.”
Midfielders Cristian Roldan and Kellyn Acosta also are in camp, along with forward Gyasi Zardes.
After giving some MLS players off time this month, Berhalter may select defender Miles Robinson and midfielders Paul Arriola and Sebastian Lletget for a training camp that opens Jan. 6 in Phoenix ahead of the next trio of World Cup qualifiers, which start Jan. 30 against El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio. Europe-based players will join them a few days before that match.
“It’s really going to be up to them and how they’re looking and how fit they are,” Berhalter said. “We can’t risk having guys that aren’t fully able to play 90 minutes at high intensity for this window.”
Bosnia has a roster of all domestic-based players because the game is not in a FIFA window. Bosnia was eliminated in World Cup qualifying, finishing fourth in its group behind France, Ukraine and Finland.
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