June 8, 2015
By Michael Lewis
SHE'S READY TO PLAY
But don't expect Alex Morgan to be more than a sub as USA women play WWC opener tonight
WINNIPEG, Canada -- Alex Morgan doesn't remember how she suffered a left knee bone bruise that has left her sidelined for two months, but she does know that she's ready to contribute to the U.S. women's effort at the Women's World Cup.
|Alex Morgan: "If called upon to start, I'd be ready to start," she said. "I don't know what Jill's [Ellis, the coach] plan is. If I would need to play 90, I would play 90."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
"I always felt that when it came to the World Cup when we got to Canada, I would feel healthy no matter what, no matter how my knee was feeling. It would be mind over matter," she said prior to training at Winnipeg Stadium Sunday night. "It puts me more ease that I actually feel healthy knowing
that I actually feel good moving forward knowing that my knee is actually just doing well and is healed."
Because she has trained with the team only for several days, don't expect Morgan to start. She will most likely come off the bench for the Americans when they take on Australia in their opener at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday.
Of course, tell that to Morgan.
"If called upon to start, I'd be ready to start," she said. "I don't know what Jill's [Ellis, the coach] plan is. If I would need to play 90, I would play 90."
That probably is a long shot.
"I feel really good," Morgan said. "I've been building into it. Jill has a good plan in place. I trust her. Hopefully I will be 90 minutes game fit without the fatigue I might have. If not, hopefully I will feel 90 minutes game fit within the next week or so."
The Americans are expected to win Group D, which also includes games with Sweden here Friday and Nigeria in Vancouver June 16.
The USA will need Morgan much more in the knockout rounds because the competition will get tighter against the likes of Germany, France, Brazil and Canada.
Morgan is in her prime years as a striker at 25. In only 84 games, she has scored an impressive 51 goals, an outstanding strike rate. Moreover, her speed over the long haul and quickness in short spaces have ripped apart opposing defenses because when she is fit at the top of her game, Morgan is difficult to cover.
According Ellis, Morgan has "been great, sharp," since returning to training several days ago.
"She's been out for quite a while," Ellis said. "She's worked very, very hard on her fitness. But it's a little different for the game. We'll meter that and monitor that. But as far as having her available, yes, very much so."
Morgan walked into the mixed zone Sunday night with an ice bag on her left knee. She said it was for precautionary reasons.
"Having history with my knee injury, it's just safest for me to make sure to I cool down properly," she said.
Whether Morgan can play and get hot at the right time is one of the burning questions for the American women.