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USWNT roster: Liga MX star Mia Fishel is still awaiting her shot

Mia Fishel and UANL Tigres won the club's fifth Liga MX Femenil trophy in 2022. (Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Mia Fishel did not make the U.S. women’s national team roster yet again, despite her breakout year in Liga MX in 2022.

The 21-year-old forward scored 17 goals in 17 games for Tigres UANL this season, enough to win that league’s Golden Boot and to eclipse all NWSL players, including league leader Alex Morgan (16) and MVP Sophia Smith (15).

Fishel became the first foreign-born player to win the Liga MX Golden Boot award.

Smith was left off the 24-player roster for two upcoming matches in New Zealand due to a nagging foot injury, and teenage phenom Alyssa Thompson also was left off the roster after. Despite the apparent openings in the forward group, Fishel was not called to join the team.

USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski instead tabbed Lynn Williams, who just returned from a hamstring injury, and Midge Purce, who was left off the last two friendly rosters, to join the forward corps.

“Mia is a very good young player, we are very familiar with her qualities,” Andonovski said. “But as of right now, after looking at everything, we decided the forwards that we have in camp are going to give us the best chance to be successful.”

In addition to Williams and Purce, those forwards include: Morgan, Ashley Hatch, Trinity Rodman and Mallory Swanson (née Pugh).

The top Mexican women’s league, Fishel opted to join Liga MX after three seasons at UCLA rather than the NWSL, though she was drafted fifth overall by the Orlando Pride in last year’s NWSL draft. Every player on the roster for the USWNT’s New Zealand trip plays professionally in the NWSL with the exception of Lindsey Horan, who is on loan to French club Lyon.

Andonovski, however, said Fishel’s decision to play in Mexico has not impacted her chances to earn a USWNT roster spot.

“It doesn’t matter where she plays,” he said. “It matters what she does, but also what she does in comparison with the other players that she is competing with for spots.”

When questioned about Fishel’s goal numbers, which are better than anyone else on the roster, Andonovski provided several rebuttals, including fit on the team and the degree of difficulty of those goals.

“We analyze every goal she scores, the difficulty of the goals, the players that are around compared to the players we have up,” he said. “We try and see how they will fit on the team that we have.

“I have to say, that there are other Americans that have scored as many or close to as many goals in the same league or even outside of the league.”

In Liga MX, fellow American player Christina Burkenroad finished the season with 16 goals – one behind Fishel. No American player in the NWSL other than Smith and Morgan came close to Fishel’s 17 goals scored.