Serious knee injuries have been an unfortunate theme in the lead-up to the 2023 Women’s World Cup, most recently with Mallory Swanson tearing her left patella tendon in the USWNT’s friendly vs. Ireland on Saturday.
While Swanson’s recovery is just beginning, Catarina Macario is nearing her return to the pitch after tearing her ACL last June. But how close is that return? And will it happen in time for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which kicks off in just three months?
U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski previously said Macario, 23, was expected to resume playing games for club team Lyon in March, but that return was delayed. Last week, it was announced that she was set to resume training with the club.
Because of where she is in her recovery, she wasn’t named to the U.S. roster for this month’s camp — the USWNT’s final camp ahead of this summer’s Women’s World Cup.
“First, we need to see performance,” Andonovski said on Friday when asked about her World Cup roster chances. “We have to see her on the field… Cat has to get back in a professional environment, play professional games, competitive games, games that matter.”
That could be tough, given Lyon’s schedule. The club is out of Champions League contention, but still has some matches left in its domestic season. Macario’s contract will be up after that and negotiations for a new contract are still ongoing.
Still, given Macario’s high ceiling — and the long list of USWNT injuries — she certainly shouldn’t be counted out of World Cup roster contention.
“We all know that Cat has potential to be one of the best players in the world. We have all seen that, a year ago,” Andonovski said.
“If she proves that she deserves to be in this environment, and we believe that she can help us win the World Cup, then she’s going to be here.”