USWNT: With the 2023 World Cup on the horizon, Mallory Swanson is standing by her role and hoping to inspire teammates

The United States Women’s national team is unbeaten in 2023 and tops the table in the SheBelieves Cup after winning 1-0 Japan on Sunday. Part of the team’s impressive games can be credited to Mallory Swanson’s remarkable form. The winger now has a five-game scoring streak dating back to November and leads the team with six goals scored in four games this calendar year.

Swanson’s ability to stretch the backlines and be an option on and off the ball has made defending teams’ top line difficult. She has long been a cooperative option for her teammates, sometimes opting for the extra outlet over taking the shot. But as the World Cup draws nearer, Swanson has made it his mission to take their chances when they are presented to them.

“I think this offseason I kind of re-evaluated my game and I think what was one thing was I didn’t take easy chances last calendar year. So I just wanted to come into this year and just be able to take easy chances,” Swanson said after the game.

Swanson’s role enjoyed a resurgence after surviving injuries and being dropped from the Tokyo Olympics squad. The forward has worked alongside the exciting club seasons Chicago Red Starsresulting in back-to-back NWSL finalist nominations in 2021 and 2022. USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski called Swanson back to national team camps after the Olympics, and she’s often featured in his lineups alongside Sophia Smith – the 2022 NWSL MVP and 2022 US Soccer Player of the Year.

“She certainly makes my life a little bit easier,” Andonovski quipped in the post-match comments. “It’s obviously not just speed. The speed that she has helps, but she controlled the ball and at full speed she did two touches on a mid-air juggle. That’s (technically). I mean, that’s a very skillful player… When she completed the goal it looked like the game stopped for her so she could put the finishing touches on it.Obviously she’s in great, really good form and we’re just happy and supportive her as best she can.”

It should come as no surprise that the 24-year-old attacker has become a staple of the US forward roster five months before the World Cup. She is on track to remain a leading goalscorer for the team with Smith currently unavailable as a precaution with a foot injury and Lynn Williams making her way back to her 90-minute fitness following a hamstring injury. Competing in the SheBelieves Cup has further cemented their place among attackers with just two caps remaining before the World Cup.

“I just want to win,” Swanson said. “We’re going into a World Cup and the intensity just needs to be seen and absorbed. Honestly just to be able to be more of a leader on this team and let people see and see that spark Fireand let’s go.”

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