Korbin Albert benched for SheBelieves Cup opener, Mallory Swanson returns to starting XI

United States women’s national team head coach Twila Kilgore turned heads with her starting XI for the SheBelieves Cup semifinal vs. Japan on Saturday. Korbin Albert will start the game on the bench and Mallory Swanson returns for the first time in a year.

Swanson last started a game with the USWNT on April 8, 2023, when she suffered a severe knee injury. She’s back in the starting XI for the first time since.

USWNT starting XI vs Japan

The other name that fans were looking for was Albert. The 20-year-old Paris Saint-Germain midfielder has been one of the big stories of the USWNT after reposting controversial anti-LGBTQ+ content on TikTok and liking a post celebrating Megan Rapinoe’s career-ending injury.

Albert apologized for the posts shortly after. USWNT captain Lindsey Horan and star striker Alex Morgan both expressed their disappointment with Albert in a press conference on Wednesday.

Albert had started the previous three games for the USWNT and has impressed with PSG in France.

The midfield three of Albert, Sam Coffey and Horan looked solid in the Concacaf W Gold Cup, but it seems Kilgore will be trying a different midfield trio.

Kilgore is going with an extremely attack-minded lineup with Morgan, Swanson, Trinity Rodman and rising star Jaedyn Shaw all getting the start.

Shaw is expected to go from her usual left wing position and drop to the midfield. Horan played ahead of Coffey and Albert in the previous games, but now we're predicting that Horan will partner with Coffey while Shaw plays as the attacking midfielder.

There’s been no word on if benching Albert is purely for strategic reasons or if it’s due to the off-the-field controversy.

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