U.S. Women’s striker Alex Morgan; examining her amazing goal totals – Part I

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Alex Morgan is many things to many people. Her knack for scoring late, vital goals has endeared her to the USWNT faithful. She’s poised to become the face of the USWNT, if not the women’s game as a whole. Her spread in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition has, ahem, exposed her to wider audiences.

For once, it appears the hype is wholly justified. Morgan has plenty of substance to match the star power. And she’s got the stats to back it up.

ESPN’s stats sage Paul Carr crunched the numbers and found that her goals-per-international game average bests the likes of Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm. Paul also noted via Twitter the myriad ways in which her 22 career goals have been scored.

Here are a few other stats that illustrate how impressive – and indeed historic – her young career has been so far:

  • The closing stages of matches are dubbed ‘Alex Morgan Time’ for a reason. Fourteen of her 22 total goals have come after the 60th minute.
  • Morgan has had five multi-goal games thus far. All have occurred in matches in which she’s started.
  • Speaking of which, Morgan initially made her name as a dependable super sub. Ten of her first 12 international goals came in games in which she came off the bench. 2012 has seen Pia Sundhage give Morgan more license to start. It’s certainly paid off. She has made eight starts this year and has scored and/or assisted in five of those games.
  • Flat track bully? Au contraire, mon frére. Sixteen of Morgan’s 22 goals have come against teams ranked top FIFA 20 in the world. Make it 18 if you expand it to top 25. Lest we forget 24th ranked New Zealand.
  • The former Cal Bear became a known commodity to the women’s soccer community during the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, scoring picturesque goals (like this one in the final) and winning many Chilean hearts. Morgan formed a dynamic strike partnership with Sydney Leroux. Leroux has been formally introduced to the senior USWNT set-up this year and the two have picked up where they left off. The pair has either scored and/or assisted 47.2% of the USWNT’s goal total this year.

(Be sure to check back for Part II in about an hour. Meanwhile…)

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Geiger, Marrufo, Villarreal picked as Gold Cup referees

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) Mark Geiger, who three years ago became the first American to referee a knockout stage match at the World Cup, is among 17 referees picked for next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Americans Jair Marrufo and Armando Villarreal also were announced Thursday for the 12-nation tournament, which runs from July 7-26 in various U.S. cities.

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

Geiger, who is from New Jersey, was a referee for France’s 2-0 win over Nigeria in the round of 16.

Three each were picked from Mexico (Roberto Garcia, Fernando Guerrero and Cesar Ramos) and Honduras (Melvin Matamoros, Oscar Moncada and Hector Rodriguez).

Two will come from Costa Rica: Henry Bejarano and Ricardo Montero.

Others picked for the tournament are Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), Drew Fischer (Canada), Walter Lopez (Guatemala), Yadel Martinez (Cuba), John Pitti (Panama) and Kimbell Ward (St. Kitts and Nevis).

Watch Live: Germany, Chile in Confederations Cup showdown

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Alexis Sanchez is back in the Chilean starting lineup for the Confederations Cup’s marquee match-up on Thursday at 2 p.m.ET live on Telemundo Deportes.

Chile faces Germany for the Group B driver’s seat, holding a one goal advantage in goal differential.

[ WATCH LIVE: Cameroon vs. Chile on Telemundo Deportes ]

Germany starts Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi and Liverpool’s Emre Can in a young lineup with Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Report: Manchester United outbidding giants for PSG’s Marquinhos

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Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte says Manchester United has made the best offer to Paris Saint-Germain in a three-team giant battle for Marquinhos.

According to the report, the transfer fight is between United, Juventus, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, though only the first three sides have lodged bids.

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

Barca’s offer is said to be the lowest, around $50 million, while United is said to be willing to pay a staggering $78 million for the 23-year-old Brazilian.

Marquinhos has made 155 appearances for PSG since joining from Roma in 2013. He’s reliably made 40-plus appearances over the past three seasons, and has 17 caps for Brazil.

A terrific defender who excels in keeping possession, Marquinhos has also played some right back for PSG.

VAR steps in to help Australia draw Cameroon 1-1

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Twenty-one year-old Cameroon midfielder Zambo Anguissa scored a deft late first half goal, but Video Assistant Referee helped Australia to a match-tying penalty kick as both sides stayed alive in the Confederations Cup after a 1-1 draw on Thursday.

Australia captain Mark Milligan scored for Australia in the second group stage match for both teams at the Confederations Cup in Russia on Thursday.

Both teams lost opening matches, and victorious Chile and Germany square off at 2 p.m. ET

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

Australia struggled to put any semblance of threat together, and wasted its prime chance just after halftime when Mathew Leckie cued up Tomi Juric only to see the Luzern striker waffle before mailing a harmless chance wide and high.

The Socceroos came close again in the 55th minute, as a Leckie shot was blocked wide of goal. Their forward-thinking allowed some chances for Cameroon, too, as Aboubakar missed wide himself in the 58th minute.

Referee Milorad Mazic used Video Assistant Referee to change a corner kick to a penalty kick in the 60th minute, and Australia captain Milligan buried the spot kick to make it 1-1.Cameroon defender Ernest Mabouka chopped down Alex Gersbach in the box.

Aboubakar had a near post offering blocked wide by Milos Degenek, and the corner came to nothing. Australia had survived.