Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe return to USWNT for World Cup qualifiers
USWNT legend Alex Morgan talks NWSL, USMNT and what’s next for her career
USWNT legend Alex Morgan connected with Mackenzie Salmon on Sports Seriously for a wide ranging conversation on her career.
Some familiar names are back with the U.S. women’s team for World Cup and Olympic qualifying.
Two-time World Cup champions Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn were among the 23 players named to the U.S. roster Monday for next month’s Concacaf W Championship. Morgan and Rapinoe have not played for the USWNT since October, with coach Vlatko Andonovski using the last few months to take a look at younger players. Sauerbrunn missed the April friendlies with a knee injury.
Morgan’s return was not a surprise. She leads the NWSL with nine goals, and has played in every game for the first-place San Diego Wave. But Rapinoe has played in just four games for OL Reign this season, coming on as a substitute in each.
Andonovski said he told Rapinoe last fall that he was going to use the next several months to look at younger players, but that she would have a place on the team if she’s healthy and fit enough to get playing time.
“We know what Megan is capable of doing. We saw that even in the some minutes she got in (the Reign’s OL’s) last game, how dangerous she can be.
Obvi this is a younger group we’re bringing in, so her experience going through adversity going through tough times, getting on top, her winning mentality, her knowledge and understanding is very impt for the group.
Missing from the U.S. roster is Christen Press, who left the field with what appeared to be a knee injury shortly after scoring in Angel City’s 3-2 win over Racing Louisville on Saturday night. Catarina Macario, who helped Lyon win its eighth to the Champions League title, had already been ruled out after tearing her ACL earlier this month, and Sam Mewis is still recovering from a knee injury.
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Crystal Dunn, who had her first baby in May, and Julie Ertz, who is pregnant, are also not on the roster. Neither is Tobin Heath, who has not played since leaving Arsenal in April.
The USWNT will play two friendlies against Colombia, June 25 in Commerce City, Colo., and June 28 in Sandy, Utah, before traveling to Monterrey, Mexico for the Concacaf W Championship. Four World Cup berths and a spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics are at stake in the tournament, where the USWNT begins play July 4.
The top two teams in each group will qualify for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with the third-place teams in each group going to an inter-confederation playoff in February. The Concacaf W champion automatically qualifies for Paris, with the second- and third-place teams playing each other in September for Concacaf’s second Olympic spot.