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    Alex Morgan embraces the ‘weirdness’ with US women’s national team
    • February 22, 2024

    Things moved quickly for Alex Morgan on Monday.

    She was preparing for a preseason game with her MLS team, San Diego Wave FC, later that evening, when she received news that she was being called up to join the United States women’s national team for its CONCACAF Gold Cup opener.

    “I got out there (Indio on Monday) at 5, then I got the call at 7 that I needed to get to L.A.,” she said following Tuesday’s opener. “I drove to L.A. and got here at around 11 p.m.  The good thing was I was planning to play (Tuesday) with San Diego … it didn’t feel it was too crazy of a scenario, because my husband was telling me to prepare myself, because you could get called in any day.

    “A lot of players are going through preseason and you never know. I kind of had that mindset until the last minute, you just never know what’s going to happen. When I got a missed call from (interim coach) Twila (Kilgore) and a text saying call me back, I knew something was up.”

    Morgan, 34, was called in as a replacement for forward Mia Fishel, who suffered an ACL injury during Monday’s training.

    Morgan entered Tuesday’s 5-0 win over the Dominican Republic in the 67th minute and ended the night with a penalty kick in the 92nd minute. The goal snapped a 10-game goalless streak for Morgan in her 216th appearance with the national team.

    The USWNT will continue Group A play Friday against Argentina at 7:15 p.m. The early game will feature Mexico against the Dominican Republic. Both games will be played at Dignity Health Sports Park.

    “Alex is a total pro,” Kilgore said. “I knew she would stay ready, we’ve been in pretty consistent contact. She was the next person to call in and ready for the challenge. She was in the right place a lot, we just didn’t find her, then it was really good to convert her PK. It’s really good to have her back in the squad.”

    Fans in attendance might have been confused to see Morgan wearing No. 7 instead of her usual No. 13. According to CONCACAF rules, players called in as a replacement for an injured player have to take the jersey of the injured player.

    “It was a seven in weirdness,” the former Diamond Bar High star joked. “It’s the rules of the tournament and I get it. It’s going to be weird looking back at photos and videos and highlights of my career.”

    Morgan said she had worn jersey No. 5 and No. 21. “But I have not worn anything other than 13 since I was like 21 (years old),” she said.

    Next game improvements

    Tuesday’s win was as comfortable as a 5-0 win could be.

    Kilgore is expecting a tougher challenge against Argentina, who played to a scoreless draw against Mexico.

    “I would like to see a bit more efficiency,” Kilgore said. “We asked them to play with this patient urgency. We knew that if we did our job, we’d push them back into our final third or their defensive third and that’s hard to do, but you have to move the ball quickly and try to create these goal-scoring opportunities.

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    “I think we were actually a little too patient, I think that we could have served in a few more crosses, with less passes and created a few more opportunities. I just want us to be a bit more efficient. I think that we’ll see a totally different test in our next matches and so we’ve been planning all along for those games, I just expect them to first make sure that we’re doing what we said that we were going to do and then see what challenges actually brought our way and make sure that we’re continuing in our style of play, but adjusting to what’s actually happening in front of us.”

    United States vs. Argentina

    What: CONCACAF Gold Cup group play

    When: 7:15 p.m. Friday

    Where: Dignity Health Sports Park

    How to watch: Paramount+, ESPN+

    ​ Orange County Register