U.S. national team preparing for World Cup without Mallory Swanson

Swanson has not had surgery to repair the tear in her left patella as of Monday morning. The team announced Swanson will share her timeline for return “when she’s ready.”

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U.S. Women’s National Team is preparing to move on without Mallory Swanson.

U.S. Women’s National Team is preparing to move on without Mallory Swanson.

Eric Gay/AP

The news that Mallory Swanson had torn her left patella tendon in the U.S. Women’s National Team’s win over Ireland on Saturday was a blow as the World Cup nears. Monday morning, Coach Vlatko Andonovski had an air of positivity in his update on Swanson’s status, but the fact remains there is no replacing her.

It’s a brutal acknowledgment three months out from the World Cup, but the USWNT remains prepared to confront injuries.

“We all understand we have a job to do past this now,” Andonovski said. “We have to prepare for the World Cup and do our job. If there’s a team that has a group of players ready to step into the moment, that’s this team.”

When asked if Swanson’s injury was a partial or complete tear of her left patella, a USWNT spokesperson responded that the team is only describing it as torn for now. She is being further evaluated in Chicago and has not had surgery as of Monday morning.

The team said that she will make her timeline for a return available to the public when she’s ready.

The pair of friendlies against Ireland, one Saturday and the final match Tuesday in St. Louis, Missouri, are the final matches before Andonovski announces his World Cup roster.

Alyssa Thompson was called in to replace Swanson. Andonovski shared Monday that she was already packing her bags during halftime of the USWNT’s Saturday win.

“We will see Alyssa on the field,” Andonovski said. “It’s only a question of how much.”

Swanson had begun to establish herself as the National Team’s key goal scorer, netting seven goals in her first six appearances this year after compiling seven goals and seven assists in 15 matches last year.

She was also named to the NWSL’s Best XI for her 2022 season with the Red Stars, in which she scored 11 goals during the regular season and four during the Challenge Cup.

Andonovski spoke to Swanson over the weekend and said she is doing good and will be the team’s biggest supporter. The National Team’s depth at forward provides some solace when it comes to potentially having to replace Swanson on the World Cup roster.

“We learn that we can’t go around [injuries],” Andonovski said. “We have to face it straight on. We’re ready for it. In some ways, we were preparing certain players for moments like this. We think that we will have a good answer. We’re happy with the players we have, we’re happy with their form and their abilities. It’s just a question of which one will be the one to fulfill that spot.”

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