USWNT forward Mia Fishel tears ACL, Alex Morgan called up to Gold Cup roster

U.S. women’s national team forward Mia Fishel tore the ACL in her right knee during training on Monday, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday, just hours before the squad’s first Concacaf W Gold Cup match vs. the Dominican Republic.

Alex Morgan, who initially did not make this tournament roster, has been called up to replace Fishel.

“I’m gutted for Mia, and I know the team and the entire staff is as well,” USWNT interim head coach Twila Kilgore said in a statement. “She’s been very effective in camp and has worked hard to make an impact.

“Since she’s bettering call-ups to the national team, she’s shown a tremendous growth mindset, a desire to absorb information and has been a total team player. I know she’ll come back strong and hopefully be in the mix for the next World Cup.”

The 22-year-old forward told FOX Sports in December that playing for the USWNT has always been a dream of hers, and she was on track to play a role not just at the Gold Cup, but at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Fishel has three caps, all earned late last year, and has scored one goal for the national team.

Fishel, considered to be a rising star on the national team, now joins Chelsea teammate and Australian superstar striker Sam Kerr on the IR. She is also close friends with Chelsea and USWNT forward Catarina Macario, who has been through a lengthy ACL recovery and could return to play soon.

Now Morgan, 34, will get her first call up since October. She was initially left off the Gold Cup roster, which opened the door for younger players to get more experience in the national team environment. Kilgore said that Morgan — as well as other players who were not called in — would still be in the mix for the Olympics.

Though those odds initially seemed bleak given how loaded the forward line has become with players like Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman, Lynn Williams, Jaedyn Shaw and Midge Purce all competing for minutes. This list doesn’t even include Mallory Swanson, who trained with the team leading up to the Gold Cup for the first time since her knee injury last April, Alyssa Thompson, who was not eligible for selection due to injury, and Macario.

Now Morgan has an opportunity to prove to Kilgore and new head coach Emma Hayes why she should reclaim her spot.

“As we start this tournament, we’re fortunate to be able to add a player like Alex to the roster,” Kilgore said. “Her accomplishments speak for themselves, she’s been training extremely hard with the [San Diego] Wave in preseason, and I know she’ll be more than ready to contribute in this tournament.”

The U.S. opens Group A play on Tuesday night in Los Angeles against the Dominican Republic, then will face Argentina on Friday, Feb. 23 and Mexico on Monday, Feb. 26. The top two finishers in each group advance to the knockout rounds with the tournament final taking place on March 10 at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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