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Alex Morgan to miss USWNT European tour through injury

Alex Morgan will miss USWNT friendly matches against England and Spain in October due to injury.

Roddy Cons
Alex Morgan pelea actualmente por la Bota de Oro en la NWSL.
Steph ChambersAFP

USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski has named a 24-player squad for the team’s upcoming European tour, in which the United States will take on England at Wembley Stadium on Friday, 7 October and Spain at El Sadar in Pamplona on Tuesday, 11 October.

USWNT preparation for 2023 World Cup

The two matches will be a key part of preparation for the 2023 World Cup, due to take place in Australia and New Zealand in July and August of next year.

“These are big tests for our team in front of crowds cheering against us and after long travel, but our players absolutely love games like these,” stated Andonovski. “The group we are bringing to Europe includes players who have a lot of experience against top European teams and some that don’t, so these games are even more critical for our growth as a team. Our whole squad needs to get a clear picture of what these games are like as we continue to prepare for the World Cup.”

Alex Morgan festeja un gol en el Premundial Femenino de Concacaf.
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Alex Morgan Miguel SierraEFE

Alex Morgan missing for USWNT v England and Spain

The main headline from Andonovski’s announcement is that San Diego Wave striker Alex Morgan, the fifth highest goalscorer in USWNT history, won’t feature in either of the two matches as she recovers from a minor knee injury. “What I can say is that if this was a World Cup final, Alex would have been on this trip and she was going to play this game, no question.” With nothing at stake, Andonovski clearly feels that there is no reason to take any unnecessary risks.

With star striker Morgan not called upon and Catarina Macario recovering from an ACL tear, there are opportunities for others alongside veteran Megan Rapinoe in attack. Midge Purce has surprisingly been omitted, with Andonovski citing a dip in form for NY/NJ Gotham FC as the reason. But there is a first call-up for 17-year old high school student Alyssa Thompson, who plays for the U-17 Total Futbol Acadmey boys’ team in MLS Next and impressed at the U-20 World Cup.

Other notable inclusions include Portland Thorns stalwart Crystal Dunn, back on the roster for the first time since giving birth in May, and Savannah DeMelo of Racing Louisville, the only other uncapped player along with Thompson

Full USWNT roster to face England and Spain

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC)

Midfielders: Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy)

Aleksander Ceferin, Duke of Cambridge and Leah Williamson.
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Aleksander Ceferin, Duke of Cambridge and Leah Williamson. Mike HewittDiarioAS

USWNT favourites to win the 2023 World Cup

The USWNT qualified for the 2023 World Cup as 2022 CONCACAF Champions and will, as ever, be favourites to lift the trophy. England and Spain will also participate after winning their UEFA qualification groups and are also expected to contend, although the Spanish team is currently in crisis with 15 regular players refusing to play until head coach Jorge Vilda is removed from his position.

The United States’ last meeting with England was in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup and ended in a 2-0 victory. The most notable recent clash between the teams came in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup, with the USWNT running out 2-1 winners on the way to lifting the trophy. In the same tournament, the US also defeated Spain in the round of 16 by the same scoreline and have edged out La Roja by a single goal on each of the three previous meetings between the teams.