Alex Morgan to miss USA's upcoming friendlies to rest injured knee

Published May. 9, 2015 4:43 p.m. ET

SAN JOSE, Calif. --

U.S. national team forward Alex Morgan won't play against Ireland in an exhibition game Sunday vs. the Republic of Ireland (live, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, 2:30 p.m. ET) because of a bone bruise in her left knee.

Morgan will also miss next Sunday's game against Mexico in Carson, Calif. (live, May 17, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Go, 6 p.m. ET), because of the injury. The team is in the midst of a send-off tour before the Women's World Cup next month in Canada.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis says Morgan is being held out as a precaution. Morgan was at practice at Avaya Stadium on Saturday but did not take part in drills.

''We want Alex 100 percent when we get to Canada, and I think at this point we don't need to push it. So we're just taking a more conservative route with her,'' Ellis said.

The injury also forced Morgan to miss an earlier match with her club team, the Portland Thorns of the National Women's Soccer League.

Morgan, who has 51 goals and 32 assists in 84 international appearances, did not speak with reporters Saturday, but did address the injury recently while still training with the Thorns. She also said she was treating the bruise, which she described as minor, with caution.


''I just knocked my knee bone and it has been lingering for a little bit and I don't want it to linger any longer,'' she said.

Morgan struggled last year with ankle injuries.

She sat out nine games with the Thorns last season because of a left ankle sprain she sustained in national team training camp the prior fall. Then she reinjured the ankle last fall during in a group stage match during the CONCACAF Women's Championship, which served as qualifying for the World Cup.

She did not return until this year, scoring in a 1-0 victory over England in February and in a 3-0 win over Switzerland in an Algarve Cup match in March.

The United States will probably also miss midfielder Tobin Heath for the match against Ireland because of a lingering left hamstring injury. Heath also plays for the Thorns.

Heath, Like Morgan, is being held out as a precaution.

''As I've come through the past eight months, there's always been one player that really hasn't been at 100 percent or healthy. When we went to Brazil (in December) we didn't have Alex. When we went to France we didn't have (Megan) Rapinoe. But it just gains experience for everyone else,'' Ellis said. ''As long as we get to the World Cup healthy, that's the ultimate goal.''

The match against Ireland is the second of a four-game series of exhibitions in advance of the World Cup. The team defeated New Zealand 4-0 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis back on April 4 in the first match.

The United States are 10-0-0 are time against Ireland, which is currently ranked No. 31 in the world and isn't among the 24 teams playing in the World Cup. The Irish roster includes forward Stephanie Roche of the NWSL's Houston Dash.

The United States opens the World Cup on June 8 with a group play match against Australia in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Women's soccer's premier tournament is being played in six Canadian cities over the course of about a month, with the final set for July 5 in Vancouver, British Columbia.