After all she’s been through, some might expect Alex Morgan to be slowing down at this point in her career. A two-time World Cup winner and an Olympic gold medalist, Morgan gave birth to her first child in 2020 and at the age of 32 moved to a new club in a new city to be the face of the expansion club San Diego Wave.
Instead of taking it easy a couple of weeks from her 33rd birthday, Morgan is hitting a new gear.
Alex Morgan is having her Barry Bonds 2001 season (hopefully without the steroids). She is on pace to absolutely shatter the single-season NWSL scoring record.
Not bad for a player who was dropped from the USWNT earlier this year.
As Morgan joins up with the U.S. women’s national team for the first time in 2022 this week ahead of the Concacaf W Championship in Mexico, the forward is in scorching form. With two more goals on Sunday, Morgan has a career-best 11 goals through 10 matches. That’s already one more than the 2021 Golden Boot winner Ashley Hatch scored in the entire season last year.
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) June 19, 2022
To put Morgan’s scoring rate into context, she’s outscored seven of the 11 other teams by herself this season. Is it any wonder her Wave are in first place?
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) June 20, 2022
Alex Morgan is easily on pace to have the best club season of her career. Before this year, her best NWSL campaign saw her score nine goals for Orlando in 2017. Morgan scored 12 goals across two competitions in 2016-17 for Lyon but had never reached double digits in a single club competition.
The record for most goals in a single NWSL season is held by Sam Kerr when the Australian dynamo scored 18 in 23 games during the 2019 season. At her current rate, Morgan would finish the 22-game regular season with 24 goals.
Unfortunately for Morgan, the NWSL is continuing play during the Concacaf W Championship, when many of the league’s best players will be off trying to qualify their respective nations for the 2023 Women’s World Cup and 2024 Olympics. Morgan will miss three games while on national team duty in July.
Still, given her current form, she’s on pace to score 21 goals in 19 games this season, assuming she remains healthy. This would set the NWSL record and remind the world she’s still a world-class striker even at 32 and after giving birth in 2020.
But let’s not crown Morgan with the Golden Boot just yet.
Though Morgan’s pace is unprecedented, she’s got some company in the race for the season’s top scorer. Portland’s Sophia Smith has eight goals from nine games (0.9 goals per game). She’ll also miss most of July with the USWNT, but her current pace puts her at 17 goals for the season when you include the three missed matches. A hat trick here or there could sway the Golden Boot race either way.
Omg coming from the brace queen !! Brings those goals to qualifiers ok thanks— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) June 19, 2022
Another race to keep an eye of this season is Morgan’s sprint up the all-time NWSL scoring charts. The 32-year-old started the season in ninth overall but has already moved up to fifth with 49, passing names like Christen Press, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe on the way. She’s four behind Jessica McDonald in fourth and nine behind Christine Sinclair in second. While she’s not catching Sam Kerr’s record of 77 this season, she could set herself up to take a crack at the all-time record in the years to come (assuming Kerr doesn’t return to the NWSL, where she won the Golden Boot three years running before moving to Chelsea).
Without a doubt, this is Alex Morgan’s best start to a club season ever. It isn’t, however, her best year overall. Morgan’s best year has to be 2012, when she tallied an unreal 28 goals and 21 assists in 31 USWNT matches while winning an Olympic gold medal. (She also had two goals in three matches with her club at the time, the Seattle Sounders.)
Barring the greatest individual performances in the history of sports, Morgan won’t reach those levels with the national team this year — there simply aren’t enough games on the schedule. But she’s on pace to break the NWSL single-season scoring record.
If Morgan can stay healthy and maintain her impressive form, she might just prove she’s the best player in the world heading into the 2023 Women’s World Cup.