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  • Writer's pictureChelsea-Anne Calder

Mallory Swanson's Injury Raises Questions for USWNT World Cup Frontline

United States women's soccer and Chicago Red Stars forward, Mallory Swanson, has suffered a torn patella tendon in her left knee during a friendly match against Ireland on Saturday, April 8. One of the most prolific forwards in women’s football has yet to address her status publicly, but her club team reported Swanson has returned to Chicago for further evaluation.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is set to begin in just over 100 days. This is a tournament every footballer dreams of not only making the final roster, but also playing in a stadium filled with traveling fans chanting their name. It is an international career-defining moment Swanson had been hoping for after missing out on the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Mallory Swanson celebrating her goal against Brazil during the 2023 She Believes Cup | Photo by Elyanna Garcia

Since this omission, Swanson has managed to redefine her career. She is the reigning Chicago Red Stars MVP after scoring a personal record of 11 goals in the NWSL. She has continued this firepower onto the international stage leading the United States with 8 goals this year. There is no estimated time frame officially given on Swanson’s return. In a pregame press conference, Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski reports, “Mal is doing good. All she wants is for the team to be successful and that she will be our biggest supporter." It is possible a player who had arguably punched her ticket to Australia/New Zealand may remain on United States soil.

What does this mean for the USWNT heading into a World Cup?

It will be difficult to fully replace a guaranteed starter for the United States. Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski will try to keep the standard high, calling up 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson as Swanson’s replacement. Thompson was the number one draft pick in the 2023 NWSL draft. She has contributed to two goals in two games so far this season, scoring one goal and drawing a penalty for the second goal. With her debut goal, Thompson became the fourth youngest player to score in the NWSL.

It is no secret Alyssa Thompson is a talented player. Quick is usually one of the first words to describe her, but in the few games she has played as a professional, she has shown her incredible technical ability. Thompson is a skillful dribbler who can solve her way out of tight spaces under pressure while finishing off her scoring chances.

This final camp will be one of the most important opportunities for Alyssa Thompson as she works to impress the United States’ coaching staff one last time. She has not suited up for the United States since her debut against England at Wembley Stadium in October 2022.

It will be interesting to see if Andonovski will play her on the front line alongside expected starters, Alex Morgan and Sophia Smith. With Mallory Swanson’s injury, there is now added competition for a starting forward position. Trinity Rodman, Lynn Williams, Margaret Purce, and Alyssa Thompson could all be fighting for that one vacant spot.

The United States will play the second leg against Ireland on April 11 at 7:30 pm ET in St. Louis, Missouri


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