Orlando Pride added Alex Morgan to their roster on Wednesday, a few weeks earlier than expected.
The club waived Christina Burkenroad to make room on the roster for the U.S. women’s national team forward to return. Morgan, whose contract is handled by U.S. Soccer, will still need to finish rehab for a hamstring injury, but the Pride made the moves now because Burkenroad received an offer to play with another team, according to a league source.
Last week, foreign news outlets reported Burkenroad signed with Norwegian side Grand Bodø. A deal was not complete at the time, but a spokeswoman for the club told the Orlando Sentinel Burkenroad was permitted to workout with the club in Norway during the Pride’s bye week.
“We’re in the position where Alex is coming back and we need to make room in the roster,” Pride coach Tom Sermanni said last week. “At the same time, it’s very important for us to try to look after all of our players as best we can and try to get them opportunities in different places. So, at the moment we’re looking for opportunities for Christina , whether it be in the NWSL or whether it be somewhere overseas.”
Morgan’s long-awaited return from a five-month stint in France was delayed due a recurring hamstring injury she suffered during her French team’s run to the UEFA Women’s Champions League title. Morgan also won a French title while away with Olympique Lyonnais.
The United States finished off the Tournament of Nations with a steady, if not a bit boring, 3-0 win over Japan. Though the performance didn’t have the adrenaline factor of a frantic comeback win against Brazil, a match without incident is just what the doctor ordered for Jill Ellis’ side. Allegedly this match marks the end of Ellis’ Dr. Frankenstein, mad scientist, experimentation period (let’s all take a moment to be disappointed we never saw Allie Long in goal). With that in mind, what lessons did we learn from this match to move forward into the next phase of development.
Like a broken record, American fans have enjoyed a solid two-and-a-half decades of relative dominance over the rest of the world. The USWNT was better funded than the rest of the world, they came to use sports science and advanced nutrition science before everyone else, and don’t forget that pesky American Spirit™. That dominance has lulled fans and players and even the federation into a waking sleep about the actual state of American dominance in women’s soccer. Notably the USWNT has lost three matches (home matches, no less) in this calendar year. Both the SheBelieves Cup and the Tournament of Nations, no doubt meant to be coronations in front of thousands of adoring fans, went to nations not named the United States.
Alex Morgan scored twice to lead the United States women's national team to a comfortable 5-0 victory over New Zealand in Cincinnati Tuesday night.
Morgan's second goal was her 77th for the national team, which puts her in seventh place on the USWNT's all-time list. The USWNT also beat New Zealand 3-1 on Saturday in Commerce City, Co.
Midfielder Lindsay Horan led off the scoring with an athletic diving header in the 36th minute. Samantha Mewis played in a menacing ball to the top of the box, where Horan beat her defender to the ball before launching a looping header of the New Zealand keeper.
The next goal was a thing of one-touch beauty. After a lackluster clearance from the New Zealand defender, the U.S. won the ball and played two one-touch passes to find Horan just past midfield. Horan played her own one-touch pass, a perfectly weighted through ball that found a streaking Mallory Pugh. Pugh's finish was clinical.
The Alex Morgan that has become familiar to fans worldwide is the one who is constantly creating danger in front of the net. Fortunately for the USA and the Orlando Pride, and unfortunately for opponents, that’s the Alex Morgan everyone has been seeing over the past several months.
Since Aug. 3 she has scored, or had an assist, in almost every game she’s played. That’s 13 goals in 14 matches for club and country combined.
“I feel really good,” Morgan said following the USA’s 3-1 win against Korea Republic in New Orleans. “I don’t know that I’m at the peak of my career, but I’m definitely in form and I feel really good with where I am right now. It’s been a positive year for me and I want to continue to build off that these next three games that we have to end this 2017.”