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Midge Purce: Alex Morgan is ‘capable of putting USWNT on her back’

Alex Morgan did not score in the group stage but ranked highest in expected goals on the USWNT. (Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Alex Morgan’s most memorable moment of the 2023 World Cup is one she probably would rather forget.

The 34-year-old striker missed a penalty kick against Vietnam. The first U.S. penalty to be saved at a World Cup since 2003, the low shot was blocked by the opposing keeper, and then Morgan sent the rebound wide of the net.

“It wasn’t a good penalty for me and I know that… Definitely had a couple that I should have put away, for sure — penalty included,” Morgan said after the match.

The two-time World Cup champion has just one assist to her name so far — an assist on Sophia Smith’s opening goal against Vietnam, one of just four USWNT goals in the group stage. Morgan has taken 13 shots, and just one on target.

Still, Midge Purce sees Morgan as a sleeping giant for the USWNT. Purce, who missed out on the World Cup due to a quad injury, is co-hosting Just Women’s Sports‘ World Cup show “The 91st” with Katie Nolan. And on the latest episode, she discussed with Nolan the impact Morgan could have moving forward.

Through three matches, Morgan has no goals, but she has a team-high 2.8 xG (expected goals).

“Look, I think that Alex Morgan has been one of the best, most prolific strikers in the entire world repeatedly at this tournament,” Purce said. “And so I think when you look at statistics, which is what everyone likes to look at, they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s not doing X, she’s not doing Y, she’s not doing Z.’ They expect so much more because she is that good. And I think it’s the same conversation.

“She’s capable of changing games. She’s capable of putting the team on her back and being like, ‘I’m going to score a hat trick and we’re going to go on to the next round.’ Like, she’s really capable of that. And I think she’s just waiting for that first breakthrough goal to happen so she can get in there.”