After suffering an ankle injury Saturday night in Jacksonville, Alex Morgan will miss tonight’s U.S. Women’s National Team game in Nashville, the second of a two-match series against visiting Scotland. The U.S.’s goal-scoring star was left out of head coach Tom Sermanni’s 18-woman team announced by U.S. Soccer last night.
Morgan’s left ankle was injured just before halftime of Saturday’s 3-1 win in a tackle with Scottish midfielder Jo Love. The 23-year-old immediately went down, was carried from the field by two members of U.S. Soccer’s training staff, and was replaced by Sydney Leroux.
According to U.S. Soccer, Morgan was able to train on Monday and Tuesday but is being withheld from the team for precautionary reasons.
Morgan’s absence will be balanced by the return of three regular starters, with three other camp invitees set to see their first game action under the new U.S. coach.
Hope Solo, who missed the match in Jacksonville with a slight calf strain, returns to the team. The team’s first choice goalkeeper likely starts ahead of Saturday’s No. 1, Jill Loyden. Nicole Barnhart, who played the second half of on Saturday, misses today’s 18.
Rachel Buehler and Megan Rapinoe missed Saturday’s game after being late arrivals to the Jacksonville camp. Rapinoe is returning from her duties with European champions Olympique Lyonnais while Buehler missed the start of camp for personal reasons. Both players, regular starters under Pia Sundhage, make Sermanni’s Nashville squad.
Defenders Crystal Dunn and Whitney Engen along with midfielder Lori Lindsey failed to make Saturday’s team but have been handed spots for tonight’s match at LP Field. Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston give up their from Saturday’s squad.
Along with Christen Press, who is off to an unsustainably great start to her national team career, Dunn and Engen will be players to watch.
Dunn, who helped lead North Carolina to last year’s national championship, is the reigning MAC Herman trophy winner. Only 20 years old, the defender has a chance to move into the picture ahead of Canada 2015. Tonight, she should see her first senior national team cap.
Engen, a North Carolina alum, was on the cusp of breaking through with Sundhage’s teams but always got caught in the numbers game. After impressing in WPS, she’s moved to England to help raise the profile of Liverpool FC’s women’s team. A central defender who can also play on the left, the 25-year-old Engen is closer to be regular contributor now.
Here’s tonight’s full roster, courtesy of U.S. Soccer:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 21-Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC), 1-Hope Solo (Seattle Reign)
DEFENDERS (6): 19-Rachel Buehler (Portland Thorns FC), 27-Crystal Dunn (UNC), 28-Whitney Engen (Liverpool FC), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), 3-Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), 12-Lauren Cheney (FC Kansas City), 17-Tobin Heath (Paris Saint-German), 16-Lori Lindsey (Washington Spirit), 10-Carli Lloyd (Western NY Flash), 9-Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Olympique Lyonnais)
FORWARDS (3): 14-Sydney Leroux (Boston Breakers), 22-Christen Press (Tyresö FF), 20-Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash)