Justin Morrow admits that his transition back from helping the United States win the Gold Cup last month to Toronto FC has been a difficult one.
But after scoring twice in Toronto’s 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday, the 29-year-old defender feels a weight lifted off his shoulder.
“I don’t think I was having the easiest time when I came back from the national team,” said Morrow. “It’s hard to put into words how difficult that is for someone who hasn’t been with the national team in a while to have that big moment, winning the Gold Cup.
“Then to come back here, transition, I give Mike (Bradley), Jozy (Altidore) and these guys credit because they’ve been doing it for their (whole) career, it shows how good they are at it. But it wasn’t easy for me.”
Morrow got the Reds on the board in the 57th minute, picking up the loose ball outside the area and putting his left-footed strike up and over Portland goalkeeper Jeff Attinella for his fourth goal of the season.
‘We challenged ourselves’
After Victor Vazquez gave Toronto a 2-0 lead, Morrow picked up a Giovinco pass intended for Jozy Altidore and beat Attinella for his second of the night.
Marco Delgado had the other goal for Toronto (13-3-8), which remains unbeaten at home this season (9-0-3). The Reds are also unbeaten in six straight overall (3-0-3).
Despite controlling the play for large portions of the first half, the Reds were unable to find the back of the net. A halftime chat in the locker-room is what sparked the offence, according to Morrow.
“I don’t think we can be happy with the way the game went in the first half today,” the defender said. “We responded in the second half, but I think that was a character thing. We challenged ourselves, we spoke at halftime.
“I think there were a couple plays in the first half where we let ourselves down.”
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