After fielding the oldest squad at both the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics, a changing of the guard was inevitable for the USWNT ahead of building toward the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Carli Lloyd, the team's most capped player and leading scorer, retired last year, but is Alex Morgan still on the USWNT?
Morgan is now the team's leading active goalscorer with 115 in 190 appearances (0.61 per game), and the 32-year-old figures to play a huge role at both this summer's Concacaf W Championship in Mexico and next summer's World Cup.
Of course we haven't seen Morgan with the U.S. squad since last October — when she scored in the team's 6-0 friendly victory over South Korea at Allianz Field in Saint Paul. Since then, Vlatko Andonovski has taken time to evaluate the program's next-gen talent at striker.
Twenty-two-year-old Catarina Macario, who's able to operate as a forward, second striker, winger and midfielder (pretty much anywhere), has led Andonovski's front three of late, and the former Stanford Cardinal already has eight goals in 17 appearances. She's also a Champions League finalist with Lyon and the competition's joint-third leading scorer with seven goals.
Twenty-six-year-old Washington Spirit striker Ashley Hatch has also been given some opportunities — scoring four goals in eight caps — after winning both the 2021 NWSL Championship and Golden Boot award.
But Morgan's own club form has been sensational after joining expansion side San Diego Wave from the Orlando Pride. Three games into the 2022 season, San Diego remains undefeated, top of the table, and Morgan leads the league in scoring with five goals already. She also scored four at the Challenge Cup, including a brace against Angel City FC.
A look at all four of Alex Morgan's goals from her stellar performance against Gotham. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/6G0g5FYvSn— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) May 8, 2022
Morgan's conversion rate of 45 percent (five goals from 11 shots) speaks to her unmatched ability at finishing chances in the area. For a U.S. team that can create from the back, midfield and out wide, having a striker like Morgan — whether she's starting games or coming off the bench as a super sub — is a necessity.
"I feel 90 minutes game fit, I feel in form," Morgan recently told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "I definitely feel like I'm doing what I need to do to help this team to be successful, and I'm hopeful that I'll be back with the national team soon. That's ultimately my goal — to put back on that jersey and create success with two teams."
The USWNT has a pair of late-June friendlies against Colombia before traveling to Monterrey for the Concacaf W Championship.
Morgan and San Diego return to action on Wednesday against Racing Louisville at 7:30 p.m. ET on Paramount+.