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Mallory Swanson's knee injury overshadows USWNT's 2-0 win vs. Ireland
United States

Mallory Swanson's knee injury overshadows USWNT's 2-0 win vs. Ireland

Updated Apr. 10, 2023 12:56 p.m. ET

AUSTIN, Texas — U.S. women's national team star forward Mallory Swanson left Saturday's match against the Republic of Ireland on a stretcher after sustaining an apparent serious left knee injury in the first half. She was immediately taken to a local hospital.

After the match, which the USWNT won 2-0, coach Vlatko Andonovski didn't have much of an update on Swanson's status, saying he did not know "the extent of the injury." He added that she was "getting checked out as we speak, and I'm hoping for good news in the near future."

In the 40th minute, Swanson came into contact with Irish defender Aoife Mannion and went down, clutching her left knee while writhing in what appeared to be excruciating pain. U.S. teammates Alex Morgan, Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle quickly waved over team trainers to come on the field and tend to her. 


Swanson was quickly surrounded by medical staff and teammates who were trying to calm her down. After about five minutes, she was whisked away on a cart, but not before holding up the shape of a heart with her hands as to send a positive message to a worried and anxious crowd.

Andonovski said after the match that despite such a scary and emotional scene, Swanson was in good spirits as she left. 

"When she was going off the field, she had a big smile on her face," Andonovski said. "She said, ‘Coach, I'm good. I promise I'll be good.' [I was like], ‘OK, you're stronger than me.'"

Lavelle concurred, saying she appeared "a lot better."

Swanson's health is a major concern with a little more than three months to go until the World Cup begins. She's been the USWNT's best player in 2023, scoring seven goals in five games leading up to Saturday's match. In fact, Swanson had been on a six-game scoring streak, which is tied for the fourth-longest streak by any player in USWNT history. 

Losing her would be a major blow for the Americans, who hope to make history this summer by becoming the first team to ever win three consecutive World Cup titles.

"Everybody was affected by it," Andonovski said. "Mal is a very lovable person. She's this happy person and brings joy into the environment. Right now, we're all just hoping for good news and hoping we'll see Mal back on the field soon."

Swanson was also injured earlier in the game. In the 26th minute, Mannion shoved her in the box and Swanson's head appeared to collide directly with goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan. The play didn't result in a penalty kick, but Swanson grabbed the left side of her head and was down on the ground for more than five minutes. 

To make matters seem worse, Swanson had been struck by a ball in training earlier in the week, which left her with a black eye and noticeable bruise on her face. After team trainers checked her head and neck, Swanson got up, jogged around, took a sip of water and checked back into the game. Trinity Rodman briefly got up from the bench thinking she might sub in, but Swanson appeared to be OK.

"She got a little knock," Andonovski said. "Obviously with this game being so close to the World Cup, we didn't want to take any chances. If there was any slight chance that she should have not been back on the field, we were going to keep her off. But she felt good and everything was fine and she went back on the field."

The U.S. is in the middle of its final two friendly matches before Andonovski releases his World Cup roster, which is expected to be announced in June. The squad will face Ireland again on Tuesday in St. Louis before returning to their NWSL clubs, where players will still have a few weeks to make their respective cases to Andonovski and his staff.

The World Cup runs from July 20 through Aug. 20 and games will be played across 10 stadiums across nine cities in Australia and New Zealand.

The U.S. opens Group E against Vietnam on July 22 at Eden Park in Auckland, faces the Netherlands on July 27 at Wellington Regional Stadium in Wellington, and takes on Portugal on Aug. 1 back in Auckland.

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of "Strong Like a Woman," published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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