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Vlatko Andonovski says the best is yet to come for Sophia Smith

Sophia Smith scored a team-high 11 goals in 2022. (David Rogers/Getty Images)

Sophia Smith scored the lone goal for the U.S. women’s national team in Friday’s 2-1 loss to England at Wembley Stadium in London.

With a team-leading 10 goals and three assists this year, Smith nearly had an assist on Trinity Rodman’s equalizer in the first half of Friday’s game. The goal was called back after a controversial VAR review determined Smith was offside on the play.

Head coach Vlatko Andonovski told the media after the game that he’s excited to see how Smith, 22, will continue to develop her skills and what she’ll contribute in another six to nine months, when the USWNT heads to the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“To come into an environment like this and to be a difference-maker, to score a goal, and I thought she had another incredible assist for another goal that was called back, just shows the potential that she has,” Andonovski said. “I think we haven’t seen the best of her.”

With Alex Morgan absent from the roster due to a knee injury, Smith shifted from her usual right forward position and played in the center on Friday.

Smith finished second behind Morgan in the NWSL’s Golden Boot race this season, setting a Portland Thorns single-season record with 14 goals. Smith and the Thorns earned the No. 2 seed in the NWSL playoffs and will play in the semifinals on Oct. 23.