(Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Injuries and extended absences have taken a toll on the U.S. women’s national team as the reigning world champions prepare for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

As head coach Vlatko Andonovski continues to evaluate players before naming a final roster next summer, we take a look at recent USWNT mainstays on the outside looking in and where they stand in the run-up to the biggest tournament in women’s soccer. Next up: Catarina Macario.

Position: Midfielder
Total caps: 17
Most recent USWNT appearance: April 12, 2022 vs. Uzbekistan (Friendly)

What is her track record with the USWNT?

Though Macario just played her first match with the national team in January 2021, the quick-footed midfielder has established herself on the roster.

The midfielder scored a goal in her second appearance (and first start) for the USWNT in a friendly against Colombia on Jan. 22, 2021. While she took a back seat at the Tokyo Olympics, appearing in just one group-stage match, she emerged as a regular starter after that, and has made the starting lineup in 11 of her 17 appearances.

And she really found her scoring touch in 2022, totaling five goals in her three most recent matches with the squad.

What is keeping her off the roster?

Macario tore her ACL in June during a league match with French club Lyon. To add to the sting of the injury, the match held no stakes, as Olympique Lyonnais already had clinched the Division 1 Féminine title.

When will she be back?

The 23-year-old missed the USWNT’s Concacaf title run in July, but she already is well into her rehab process.

Andonovski expects her to return in February, he said on Oct. 31. Macario provided a similar timeline days earlier on Julie Foudy’s “Laughter Permitted” podcast, saying she “would like to start ramping it up in February and March and just go from there.”

While the midfielder said her knee is “good” and that she’s feeling “nice and strong” four months after the operation to repair her knee ligament, she has one goal in mind.

“The big thing is to be back for the World Cup,” Macario said.

What other players are missing from the USWNT roster?