USWNT’s Mallory Swanson tore his patella tendon 3 months before the World Championships


USA forward Mallory Swanson signals to fans as she is taken off the field after suffering an injury during the first half of an international friendly soccer match against Ireland in Austin, Texas on Saturday April 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN, Texas — Mallory Swanson, the US women’s national team’s top scorer in 2023, has been diagnosed with a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee and will almost certainly miss this summer’s World Cup.

US Soccer revealed the diagnosis on Sunday, less than 24 hours after Swanson picked up the injury in a friendly against Ireland.

Swanson has returned to Chicago, her homeland, for further investigation, US Soccer said. The extent of the tear is unclear, but assuming it requires surgery, her recovery will take at least several months and perhaps up to a year. If so, she will miss the World Cup, which begins July 20, and likely the rest of the National Women’s Soccer League season.

Alyssa Thompson, the 18-year-old winger who has taken the NWSL by storm, has replaced Swanson in the current squad ahead of another friendly against Ireland on Tuesday.

In all likelihood, however, no one will be able to replace Swanson’s production. She had scored seven goals in five games from 2023 and almost single-handedly won the SheBelieves Cup in February. She had scored in six straight games since 2022. After a few struggles in her early 20s, she was the USWNT’s top attacker and a potential catalyst this summer.

But then she went down late in the first half of Saturday after a tackle and immediately waved one arm in the air frantically while grabbing her injured left leg with the other. Teammates rushed towards them; Rose Lavelle tried to steady her heaving torso and comfort her; others signaled medical help, which soon arrived.

“It’s a bit emotional,” Lavelle later said.

USWNT medical personnel rushed onto the field. An EMT car arrived and half a dozen medical personnel arrived to immobilize Swanson’s left leg. A few teammates stood by her side; one, Lindsey Horan, stepped 10 feet away from the scene and crouched.

Two hours later, after the game, Horan said she was still “a little bit shaken.”

Alex Morgan, also standing nearby, said with a sunken expression that it was “really hard to see Mal collapsing in pain ahead of the World Cup”.

After at least five minutes of treatment in the field, she was evacuated and taken to a nearby hospital. Teammates and head coach Vlatko Andonovski felt for her, not only because she had blossomed into a brilliant footballer, but because she is “a very lovely person,” as Andonovski put it.

And they hoped for good news. But when they settled in St. Louis ahead of the second qualifying game against Ireland, they missed it.

In Swanson’s absence, USWNT’s depth remains excellent at their position, winger. Sophia Smith will become the team’s biggest threat. Trinity Rodman is likely to claim Swanson’s place in the starting XI, while behind them Thompson, Lynn Williams, Megan Rapinoe and Midge Purce are battling for squad spots.

The World Cup squad will be announced in June. The USWNT will play a final warm-up friendly in early July before traveling to New Zealand for the tournament.

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