Alex Morgan has plenty of reasons to remember her first cap with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
It was March of 2010 at Rio Tinto Stadium. It was against Mexico. And it was a blizzard.
“I remember it being the coldest game I’d ever played in,” said Morgan, who grew up in sunny Southern California. “I had never played in snow before so it possibly being my first cap I was a little bit nervous.”
The snow was ankle-high when Morgan stepped onto the pitch to begin the second half in a tie game, marking the beginning of an illustrious international career that’s included an Olympic gold medal and a World Cup championship.
“Halfway through the second half Abby [Wambach] scored and we had this game plan to do snow angels after she scored,” Morgan said. “Honestly I didn’t know how to play in the snow so Abby scored and we all went down to the corner flag and dropped down and did snow angels. I just remember that being so much fun and thinking about the future of the national team and what it would look like with me on it. I was just so excited in that moment.”
Morgan will return to RioT with Orlando Pride tonight (9 p.m. ET, go90) as the Pride look to build their first winning streak of the young season and extend their unbeaten streak to four games. It’ll be the Pride’s second meeting with the 2018 expansion Utah Royals FC after the teams tied on Opening Day at Orlando City Stadium. Morgan and the Pride will face U.S. WNT teammates Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Amy Rodriguez, whom Morgan subbed on for in that snowy game in 2010.
“Utah is a very experienced and well-organized team who will obviously be playing with a little bit more energy after picking up their first win this weekend,” Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni said. “[Royals coach] Laura Harvey has put together a team of high-quality players, many with international pedigree. So like every match in this league, we will have to be switched on and at the top of our game for all 90 minutes to get the result.”
The Royals have made their intentions obvious in their first year. The club added a state-of-the-art locker room to RioT for the Royals and they’re second in the NWSL in attendance.
“I love that Utah came into this league and has just dominated with their crowds. The fan support is incredible in Utah and you have to give them credit for their owner being outspoken on equality for the men and women.