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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Alex Morgan takes a more outspoken role for American women

MONTERY, Mexico ( Associated Press) — As the US national team focuses on developing young talent in anticipation of next summer’s World Cup, veteran forward Alex Morgan has taken a more assertive role.

Morgan, 33, is now one of the more senior members of the team, which has brought in budding players such as fellow forwards Sophia Smith, Mallory Pugh and Trinity Rodman since the Tokyo Olympics.

“Young players can hold their own. They are doing amazing. I think the one thing that I would say that I have definitely enhanced this tournament is being vocal on the field, like the positioning of the players, the set pieces, the things this team takes pride in, the mindset, the kind of players. Helps to push. A little bit,” she said.

Morgan and defending World Cup champions prepare for a performance against rival Canada in the title game of the CONCACAF W Championship on Monday night.

The United States and Canada have already qualified for the next Summer World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as the top finishers in the tournament. But the winner of the final earns one of the field berths at the 2024 Olympics in France.

Morgan isn’t slowing down in any way, as evidenced by his stellar club season so far. She returned home to California in her first season playing for the expansion San Diego Wave, and currently leads the National Women’s Soccer League with 11 goals in just 10 games.

In the W Championship, Morgan scored two goals against Haiti in the group stage., for the multi-goal game of his 29th career. He has scored 21 goals in 22 qualification matches with the United States, the third most in the team’s history. Overall, he has 117 goals and 47 assists in 195 career games.

“Alex has World Cup medals, Olympic medals. It is something that she is very, very good at, obviously, winning,” said current American coach Vlatko Andonovsky. “But also giving experience to some players who have never been in a position like this, competing for first place and winning, or being able to win big tournaments.”

Morgan said after adding new faces to the team and adopting Andonowski’s tactical approach, the team is gaining momentum and doing a better job of reading the field, which is tailored to each opponent.

“We also need to understand what the coach has given us,” Morgan said. “We all have to buy in, we can’t have one or two players to do what they should because it ruins the whole flow of the game if we’re going to play in certain formations. I think it’s important to know – It’s free to play but your role is to know, and it’s going to change from game to game.”

Morgan is easily one of the most recognizable and popular players on the team. He was greeted with loud applause in Mexico. Among his fans was a 2-year-old girl named Luca. Whose mother posted the video shouting the name of the child.

Morgan watched the video and sent an autographed jersey to Luca. Then after the match against Haiti, Luca met his favorite player.

But there’s a job to do in the midst of those touching moments. Canada has increasingly challenged the United States internationally.

Canada won gold medal in Tokyo Games, after beating the world’s top-ranked US team 1–0 in the semi-finals, defeating Sweden on penalties in the final. The United States won the bronze medal, which was later recognized by the United States as an honor, while acknowledging that it did not meet the team’s standards.

“I mean, the rivalry has definitely heated up over the years. So it’s going to be a great game. But it’s not really about looking back, it’s about looking ahead,” Morgan said . “At the same time, look at this squad, there are a lot of girls who weren’t even last year. So, this will be an opportunity for us to punch our ticket to the Olympics and prove to ourselves and the world why we have the No. 1 ranking. ,


More Associated Press Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

World Nation News Desk
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