Concacaf League

Aidan Morris playing through injury as Columbus Crew head toward Champions Cup final

Aidan Morris playing through injury as Columbus Crew head toward Champions Cup final

Aidan Morris struggles to recall a time when he played soccer without feeling any pain.

This season, the midfielder has played in every Crew match expect two, and one of those missed appearances was due to a red-card violation in the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinals against Tigres, disqualifying him for the second leg.

Apr 2, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew midfielder Aidan Morris (8) reacts to being given a red card during the second half of the Concacaf Champions Cup quarterfinal against Tigres UANL at Field. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

It was that same match that Morris suffered ankle and leg injuries that he is currently playing through.

“I twisted my ankle and my knee at the same time, and it’s kind of been constant maintenance work since then,” Morris said. “And then, at the end of Monterrey game, I got kicked again and it kind of re-flared up.”

Following Morris’ reaggravating of his injuries in the Crew’s 3-1 victory against Monterrey on May 1, he and the coaching staff have been working to help him recover without forcing him to miss any playing time. It is a difficult task considering he is the most fouled Columbus player in MLS play with 29 fouls suffered.

Apr 20, 2024; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Crew midfielder Aidan Morris (8) fights for the ball with Portland Timbers defender Claudio Bravo (5) during the second half of the MLS match at Field. The game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Morris was given over a week after the Monterrey match to recover during the Crew’s MLS bye week. Going from limited to full training leading up to FC Cincinnati game, Morris was still pulled from the crucial match with 20 minutes left.

“Aidan was not at 100%,” Crew coach Wilfried Nancy said after the Cincinnati match.

Since the Cincinnati match, Morris has continued to manage the injury through soft tissue and stem treatments, among other methods suggested by Crew assistant athletic trainer Catherine Hill, knowing that he risks being sidelined if it gets worse.

The Crew have avoided being hit with major injuries outside of a forearm injury to goalkeeper Evan Bush that has kept him sidelined for more than a month.

“Credit to the players,” Nancy said. “They know they would have many games to play and they take care of themselves, not just on the pitch, but also off the pitch. And this is a mix of everything.”

Nancy has made conscious efforts to rotate Morris out of games if necessary. So while he was able to play the full 90 minutes against CF Montreal and Orlando City SC, Morris was pulled at halftime against Chicago.

Apr 6, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew midfielder Aidan Morris (8) plays ht ball in the first half against D.C. United at Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

In the CONCACAF Champions Cup final, Morris is expected to be one of the Crew’s key factors. Morris has contributed on three of the Crew’s nine goals in the tournament, with one goal and two assists despite missing the second leg of the quarterfinal.

Morris, 22, has become one of the Crew’s longest tenured players, helping win two MLS Cup trophies in four seasons, and he is doing everything he can to ensure he is on the field if Columbus is raising another trophy, one the club has never won before.

“I always want to be out there,” Morris said. “I’ve always wanted the chance to help the team and win. And for myself, to grow and get better and have success on the field.”


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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Aidan Morris has been dealing with injury for Columbus Crew


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