The U.S. women’s national team is playing in the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand without a number of familiar faces.
Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at who those players are and why they’re absent. Next up: Mallory Swanson.
Total caps: 88
Most recent USWNT appearance: April 8, 2023 vs. Ireland (International friendly)
During the first of the USWNT’s pair of April friendlies against Ireland, Swanson tore the patellar tendon in her left knee. The injury dealt a significant blow to the 25-year-old forward and to the USWNT. She had been the squad’s leading scorer by far in 2023, with seven goals through six appearances.
Shortly after the injury, she underwent surgery to repair the tendon.
“This is hard. I’m in shock and don’t have much to say other than, thank you to everyone for the messages. I feel the love and prayers, and holding them close to my heart,” Swanson wrote on Instagram following the surgery. “Surgery this morning was a success. I’m thankful for my trainers, doctors, coaches, and teammates for their help throughout this process.
“The beauty out of all of this, is that God is always good. He’s got me and always has.”
A member of the 2019 World Cup team, Swanson was slated to play an even bigger role for the USWNT this time around. The team had been building around Swanson and Sophia Smith’s attacking power, head coach Vlatko Andonovski said after the injury, so he has had to rework the strategy for the front line.
“With losing Mal [Swanson], conceptually we may look slightly different,” he said. “Now with Mal not being there, we’re going to have to make a decision. What are we going to go for? Like for like and try the same way? Or is Mal going to be replaced by a group of players?
“We’re going to change that as we go forward, from game to game. It’s hard for me to answer this question right at this moment but once camp is over and we review it, we hope to have a little better answer or at least a clear understanding of the direction that we want to take.”
No timeline has been provided for Swanson’s recovery, but according to the Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, a mild tear can take “up to six months to heal, while a full tendon rupture, with surgery, can take up to a year.”
Swanson has been seen on the sidelines of Chicago Red Stars games in a brace. Recently, she told Fansided that post-surgery “was a little rocky at first” but she’s doing well. She also posted a video of herself kicking a ball on July 19 with the caption, “First touches in three months.”
“I was able to get my feet underneath me. Now it’s basically like taking it day by day and just rehabbing my knee,” she said. “I’m getting excited to watch the World Cup as well.”
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