Alex Morgan's 121st goal for the USWNT was a statement before the World Cup

Time after time the USWNT proves it has the world's most decisive players in the final third, and the conversation hasn't changed ahead of the 2023 World Cup.

Sophia Smith was the toast of 2022, deservedly taking home the NWSL MVP and Championship Game MVP awards while finishing as the year's top scorer for the U.S. (11 from 17), and Mallory Swanson has dominated 2023 with seven goals from only five caps

But the golden thread for Smith on the right and Swanson on the left has been Alex Morgan through the middle; the 33-year-old has adapted her game to becoming the most complete center forward on the planet.

Against Japan on Sunday, it was Morgan's brilliant piece of holding play that released Swanson for the match-winner. That was assist number 49 in Morgan's international career, good for joint-10th on the overall USWNT list and more than Christen Press (43) and Tobin Heath (42). 

Morgan's an incredible facilitator of play when teams are compact and inviting her to drop deep to get involved, but on Wednesday night she showed what happens when you stand off and give her space.

It looked like Lindsey Horan was the better option for a second, but then Morgan demonstrated why there's no need to panic when she's on the ball. 

This would've been some brace.

Morgan and the USWNT will now reportedly host Ireland on April 8 in Austin and April 11 in St. Louis. 

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