After spending the first part of the season with Olympique Lyonnais in France, Alex Morgan is back in Orlando and nearly ready to return to the Pride. The only thing holding her back: a hamstring injury from the end of her time with Lyon. Morgan is on to return to the pitch for the Pride sometime in the next few games, and she spoke over the weekend with Lifetime about her excitement to return to the squad.
“This is our second year as a team. And I feel like last year we were feeling it out, it was all new players coming together for the first year, the inauguration of the Pride. So, coming into the second year I think we have our bearings a little bit more, I think the quality is continuing to increase, the chemistry is continuing to progress,” Morgan said. “I heard so many great things from my teammates when I was in France, from Ashlyn [Harris], Ali [Krieger], from Kristen Edmonds, just seeing how excited they were to get me back and how much better the team has gelled and taken off at the beginning of the year.”
But where will Morgan fit into the new starting lineup of the Pride? Likely, she’ll play as the lone striker up top: the role that Jasmyne Spencer played in the match against the Houston Dash on Saturday, and the role that Rachel Hill played in the match prior to that. If Head Coach Tom Sermanni maintains a similar offensive formation, Morgan will likely play ahead of three attacking midfielders. Sermanni has a lot of choices for those attacking roles, but any formation is sure to include Marta, one of the players that Morgan is most excited to play with.
“Well now, with Marta, I feel like if I can be up front with her or if she’s behind me, I think we can help feed each other a good amount of balls,” Morgan said. “I want to be there, in the box, for when the ball drops. I want to be able to provide those goals that were able to come to me earlier this year in France. I think I just expanded myself with my play, with my awareness, and with my calmness on the ball.”
While the Pride have found offensive success during Morgan’s absence, adding her to the starting lineup gives them yet another path to score goals. Morgan also serves as another leader on the team, and can help develop the talents of younger players like Camila, Chioma Ubogagu, and Rachel Hill. She’s another strong player to add to the list: and she could be the extra boost that the Pride need to push them over the edge.
“It’s going to add another dimension to our attacking abilities. I think we already have a great deal of mobility and attack, and somebody like Alex coming back into the team will add to that further,” Head Coach Tom Sermanni said during training a few weeks ago. “Bringing someone like Alex back gives everybody a huge boost-- the players, the team, the clubs, the supporters. So, there’s a whole range of plus sides with Alex coming back into the team.”