USWNT: With 2023 World Cup on the horizon, Mallory Swanson owns her role, hopes to inspire teammates
United States the women’s team is unbeaten in 2023 and leads the SheBelieves Cup standings after defeating Japan on Sunday. Part of the team’s impressive streak is due to Mallory Swanson’s remarkable form. The winger is now on a five-game hitting streak that began in November and leads the team with six goals scored in four games this calendar year.
Swanson’s ability to stretch the backline and be able to play with or without the ball makes it difficult for teams to defend the top line. She has long been a cooperative option for her teammates, sometimes choosing an extra exit instead of taking a shot. But as the World Cup approached, Swanson made it her mission to take her chances when they presented themselves.
“I think this off-season I kind of overestimated my game and I think I didn’t convert any easy chances last calendar year. So, I just wanted to come this year and just be able to make the easy moments. “, Swanson said after the match.
Swanson’s role was resurrected after injuries and eliminations from Tokyo’s Olympic roster. The striker had an exciting club season alongside Chicago Red Starsleading to consecutive NWSL finalist nominations in 2021 and 2022. USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski encouraged Swanson to return to the national teams after the Olympics, and she has often appeared in his squad along with Sophia Smith – 2022 NWSL MVP and 2022 USA Footballer of the Year. of the year.
“She certainly makes my life a little easier,” Andonowski joked in the comments after the game. “Obviously, it’s not just about speed. Her speed helps, but she was in control of the ball and got two touches while juggling in the air at full speed. [technical]. I mean, she’s a very skilled player… When she scored the goal, the game seemed to stop for her so she could finish the finishing touch. Obviously she’s in great, really good shape and we’re just happy and support her as much as we can.”
Not surprisingly, five months before the World Cup, the 24-year-old striker became an integral part of the core of the US forward. She is close to being the team’s top scorer, with Smith currently unavailable as a precaution due to a foot injury and Lynn Williams returning to 90-minute fitness after a hamstring injury. Competing in the SheBelieves Cup further cemented her place among the strikers, with only two international windows left before the World Championships.
“I just want to win,” Swanson said. “We are going to the World Cup and the intensity just needs to be noticed and raised. Honestly, just being able to be a leader on this team and make people see that spark and see fireand let’s go.”