While the entirety of the Columbus Crew community celebrates the signing of forward Cucho Hernández this week, there was soccer played on the field recently. In the Black & Gold’s 1-1 draw with Charlotte FC over the weekend, midfielder Aidan Morris stepped back into a starting role and played a dominant game from box to box. On Tuesday, Major League Soccer rewarded Morris with a spot on the MLS Team of the Week bench.
Morris earns his first MLS Team of the Week award since debuting in the league on July 11, 2020. On Saturday, Morris joined a midfield missing injured playmakers Lucas Zelarayán, Artur and Yaw Yeboah and stepped into a defensive starting midfield position.
All match, Morris frustrated and broke up plays from a Charlotte FC side that mostly sat back on defense and tried the team’s hand at counter attacking on the road. Part of the reason for that was the performance of Morris. The midfielder led the team with six tackles, added a clearance and had a key pass on the offensive side of the field.
Also, Morris surprised with his passing. The third-year professional is usually known for his high energy and willingness to jump into tackles and push through the press but distributed at a high clip. Morris completed 90.9 percent of his 55 passes, above his season high in 2022.
The Crew Academy product started twice in his 2020 debut season but didn’t put himself on the league radar until Dec. 12, 2020, in the MLS Cup final. Morris started in place of Darlington Nagbe, who missed the championship game due to health and safety protocols. In 90 minutes, Morris had an assist off a midfield interception in Columbus’ 3-0 victory against the Seattle Sounders.
In 2021, Morris unfortunately suffered an ACL tear in the ninth minute of a CONCACAF Champions League match against Real Esteli on April 15. Morris came in as a substitute to start the 2022 season, his game first since returning from his injury. Across all competitions, and in matches with Crew 2, Columbus’ MLS NEXT Pro team, Morris started nine matches, including Saturday. It was Morris’ fifth senior team start in 2022.
Throughout 2022, Morris has made a case for more playing time with the senior team, even outside of filling in for injuries. While head coach Caleb Porter has sat him for players that play a more finesse style over the last few weeks of Zelarayán’s absence, Saturday’s performance showed that the young midfielder can balance his high energy, pressing style of play alongside more of a tactical game.
There’s no update on his fellow midfielder’s injuries but if they continue, expect Morris to play a role in matches, especially as Columbus plays three in one week, starting Saturday at Real Salt Lake.
Morris joins Nagbe, Zelarayán, Derrick Etienne Jr., Pedro Santos, Jonathan Mensah and Eloy Room as members of the Black & Gold that have won the Team of the Week honor so far in 2022.