Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan critical of NWSL setup during World Cup year

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Marta (left) and Alex Morgan (right) during Orlando Pride training on April 10, 2019 (Photo By Mike Gramajo / Orlando Soccer Journal). 

For Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan, it’s frustrating how the NWSL has been formatted this year heading into this summer’s World Cup.

“It’s frustrating the way the league has set up the season for us to really miss so much of it,” Morgan told reporters before Wednesday’s practice. “I want to give my attention fully to both teams, so I think we’re really forced to have to choose the national team until after the World Cup because we’re here for such limited games.”

“But I’m going to do my best these three weeks to do everything I can to integrate myself with the team and be a part of the team,” she added.

Morgan, who’s entering her fourth season with Orlando, missed a majority of the preseason this year because of national team duties with the United States but returned this week ahead of Sunday’s season opener against the Portland Thorns at Orlando City Stadium at 5 p.m.

The Orlando striker acknowledged that everyone in this league is in the same position, but expressed the challenge it brings to get basically a month’s load of preseason training soaked in one week.

“Luckily we had some time in the first part of [the] preseason to get used to the style Marc [Skinner] wants to implement, ” said Morgan. “I don’t think we’ll ever get used to it. I think it’s always difficult coming in just a few days before luckily we have one day extra than some other teams playing on Sunday.”

“Still, I think it’s pretty difficult to come in and just and make sure that we’re here and ready to get to work and everyone is feeling fresh after quite a few games with international duties,” she added.

The USWNT is scheduled for a slew of friendlies in May ahead of the World Cup in France in June.

The U.S. takes on South Africa on May 12, New Zealand on May 16 and Mexico May 26 in Austria. That means Morgan, a usual starter with the U.S., will miss some regular season games for Orlando before missing additional NWSL games because of the World Cup.

Overall, most USWNT players will probably miss half the 2019 NWSL season.

Morgan scored her 101st international goal with the USWNT last weekend against Belgium. A proud moment of her career that’s defined through hard work, she said.

“It is a big accomplishment for me, and I’m very happy to have achieved that,” she said. “I don’t like to talk about myself in that way, but it is a lot of goals to think about, and I am proud of that moment and to be able to share that with my family that was in the stands.”


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