Four Reasons Why Alex Morgan Is The Most Irreplaceable Player on the USWNT

Over their history, the United States Womens National team have been blessed with many great players such as Mia Hamm, Michele Akers, Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach. The United States in 2010 introduced yet another player who is well on her way to joining those greats. The player I’m talking about is Alex Morgan who has quickly become the most irreplaceable player on this national team much like Hamm, Akers, Lilly and Wambach were on their respective teams.

The first reason is Alex Morgan has such a unique skillset that nobody else on the team has at this current moment. She possesses all the qualities you want in a top forward; speed, strength, balance, agility, and most of all the ability to score a goal from pretty much any angle and almost with any part of her body. She has the ability to beat a goalie with the narrowest of windows, she has the ability to beat a goalie by heading the ball in the net,  and since her return from Lyon, she has become quite proficient in being able to play back to goal and improve her hold up play in the attacking half. She has improved her technical ability on the ball and she has made a career out of making timely runs off the ball getting into the dangerous areas for scoring chances. She is also a very underrated playmaker who creates chances for others.  She has everything you want in a striker, something no other US player at the moment possesses, the others have strength indeed, but they dont possess everything that Morgan does.

Secondly, the United States is able to play a much faster tempo when Morgan is on the field playing striker opposed to anyone else there. While coach Jill Ellis has attempted other players in that spot such as Christen Press, Crystal Dunn, and even Carli Lloyd, none of them have stood out the way Morgan has. In fact at times, the United States would actually be playing some of their worst soccer going back to 2017 with anyone but Morgan there.  Morgan has made a career of being the top striker on the USWNT (evident by her 86 goals in just over 140 caps) going back to her teaming up with Abby Wambach as far back as 2012. The opposing defenses game plan to stop Morgan from getting in behind them, they sometimes try to have 2 or even 3 players around her at all times in the final third which opens up space and other opportunities for her teammates.  The other forwards haven’t been able to provide that.

Alex Morgan is also one of the biggest leaders for the United States Womens National team whether its on the field or off the field. She was instrumental in their fight for equal pay and better fields, she has been a captain numerous times both for the national team and in club play and her coaches and her teammates respect her. They say she’s the consummate professional and will literally throw her body around in order to help her team win which in the past has led to her being a bit injury prone. She constantly will give you everything she has to help get you a win which is something you want in a leader, someone who can inspire others and hates to lose, she does both.

The final reason she’s irreplaceable though is because of her ability on the field. She has made a career out of scoring big goals in big moments going all the way back to 2010 with the u20 womens team. Then, at age 19, she scored what turned out to be the game winning goal in the final against North Korea to help the United States win that world cup. In that same year, for the USWNT Morgan would score the only goal against Italy which helped them qualify for the 2011 World Cup. Speaking of the World Cup, at just age 21, Morgan would score the goal against France late in the game that essentially would send them to the finals. From there she would go on to score the first goal against Japan in the second half of the 2011 WC final and assisted on what should have been Abby Wambach’s world cup clinching goal before Japan was able to come back and tie it while eventually defeating the US on PKs.

The following year in 2012, perhaps her most memorable moment to many is the header in the semi finals against Canada in the 123rd minute that sent the United States to the gold medal game against Japan. In the final it was again Morgan who was also influential as she had the assist on Lloyd’s first goal. In 2015 Morgan was coming off a serious knee injury and couldn’t  quite get in form, however she did draw the penalty kick against Germany in the semi finals which ended up leading to being the game winner when Lloyd converted the kick. Many people will bring up the missed PK in 2016 (one of the very few times she didn’t get it done when it mattered) in the 2016 Olympics against Sweden but will ignore that when the US was trailing in that match late in the second half, it was again Morgan who would come to the rescue when she scored the equalizer before the United States would again lose on PKs. You want more proof? Since Morgan’s debut in 2010 in the games she has scored in the only 2 losses are the 2011 WC and the 2016 Olympics both losing on penalty kicks. The United States in 2017 would also play one of their worst years of soccer when they lost 3 times on their own soil, something that they have never experienced before as well as losing the She believes cup getting dominated by France in that tournament 3-0. Morgan at that time was back and forth between the US and Lyon and barely played in that tournament and it was some of the worst soccer we’ve ever seen from the US. The US would struggle at times in 2017 while Morgan had her 8 game goal drought, after Morgan broke that the United States would finish the season undefeated and haven’t yet lost in their last 15 games (13-0-2) with Morgan scoring 13 goals total and in at least 10 of those games.

In the World Cup one of the biggest areas of need for a team like the United States is having a quality striker. With the ability to score big goals in big moments, read the defense better than the other forwards, possess leadership abilities, and open up space for others while drawing players to her, Morgan is simply the most irreplaceable player on the national team. When Alex Morgan is in form like she’s been lately she’s almost impossible to stop.

 

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Why The United States Should Win The 2019 Women’s World Cup

In 2017 The United States men’s soccer team failed to beat the 92nd ranked team in the world in Trinidad and Tobago. With the loss the United States also failed to qualify for the 2018 World cup something that they haven’t done since 1986. The good news is the United States also has a women’s soccer team. The United States women’s soccer team has won 3 world cups since the existence of the tournament and they are also the favorites to add a fourth world cup to their resume in 2019.

The Women’s world cup first started in 1991 and the Americans defeated China by a final score of 2-1. They have since added two more victories; first in 1999 with a victory on their home soil over China once again this time in penalty kicks with Brandi Chastain scoring the world cup clinching goal. They would also go on to defeat Japan in 2015 on a Carli Lloyd first half hat trick to a final score of 5-2 and getting retribution for Japan stunning them in the final of the 2011 women’s world cup on penalty kicks.

While there are some teams that are catching up to the United States on the women’s national level, as evident by the US failing to reach the semi finals in the 2016 Olympics, they are still the team to beat for next years world cup. The United States at that time lost key players in Abby Wambach, Lauren Cheney among others who retired before the 2016 Olympics. They also did not have a healthy Megan Rapinoe for the Olympics. They were also in a transition phase then and after that loss that would continue until mid 2017 under Head Coach Jill Ellis. The United States would have one of their worst professional tournaments during the 2017 she believes cup losing two of their 3 matches on home soil. There were many that questioned whats wrong with the women’s national team. The US would also lose yet another game to Australia in the first game 2017 Tournament of nations. It was the first time in 30 years the United States lost 3 games on their home soil. Ironically those losses will be the reason the United States should win the 2019 world cup.

During the transition phase, Jill Ellis would experiment with things that didn’t need to be experimented with. There were many fans that would call for the firing of Ellis who said that her goal was to get the squad ready for the 2019 World Cup and she was not concerned about the results. This became quite clear by some of the formations she would try as well as the personnel she would use. Some of these personnel decisions were head scratching; forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Julie Ertz were pretty much substitutes while forward Megan Rapinoe was also in and out of the lineup.  In the summer of 2017 during the 2nd game of the Tournament of Nations vs Brazil the United States were heading for their 4th loss on home soil, something that they have never experienced before when they were trailing by a score of 4-2. The United States led by mid fielder Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe two of the catalysts for the 2015 World Cup championship and incidentally two of the players not seeing a lot of time during this transition phase on the field,  came storming back and ultimately led the United States to a 5-4 comeback win. The next game was probably one of the most important games for the United States. It was a game that didn’t mean anything due to Australia already being the champions of the tournament but for the United States it was something that they desperately needed. In the 80th minute of that game forward Alex Morgan who was coming off an 8 game goal less streak finally found the net. This goal lead to Morgan going on a tear too finish off 2017 scoring 6 goals in the teams final 7 games. The US also got contributions from midfielder Julie Ertz (5 goals in 6 games) as well as Megan Rapinoe and the US finished 2017 with a 5-0-1 record.

In 2018 the United States have scored 18 goals while conceding only 5 in six games; including during the she believes cup (which they were crowned champions) and against some of the best teams in the world like Germany, France, and England. Despite missing several key players. While the play of Morgan, Ertz and Rapinoe has been mostly the reason for the US turn around since last summer, the additions of several key players have also helped. There is now starter forward Mallory Pugh who combined with Rapinoe and Morgan to form a dominant front 3 that we haven’t seen in women’s soccer since Alex Morgan went to Lyon and played with Eugene Le Sommer and Ada Hederberg. They are creating havoc for any opposing back line.  The additions to the back line of Emily Sonnett and newcomer Tierna Davidson have seemed to help stabilize a leaky back line that also features Kelly O Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn.  There is no other country that has as much talent and depth as the United States.  The addition to the midfield of Julie Ertz combined with Sam Mewis has given the team 2 linchpins there. There are also players like Christen Press, 2015 world cup MVP Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Abby Dahlkemper among others that head coach Jill Ellis can insert into the line up.

While injuries can certainly change the outlook of a tournament, as we saw with the United States not having a healthy Megan Rapinoe for the 2016 Olympics, the United States have so much depth that they should be able to put a great team on the field next summer. If the United States were to be completely healthy at that time, there’s not another team in the world that can contain the front line of Rapinoe, Morgan and Pugh up front who are all playing at a top level and also contend with a back line that could feature Sauerbrunn, Davidson, Ohara and Dunn. This does not even factor in the the depth that will be available to head coach Jill Ellis. There simply is not another team in the world at this moment that has as much talent and depth as the United States Womens National team currently has and its why they should win their fourth world cup and become the second team ever along with Germany to win back to back world cups.