The United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) followed their head coach, Vlatko Andonoski’s command to start their match with FIFA 6th ranks Canada with pace, spunk and determination.
One Lady Yank exemplified this style of play during the heated game was Colorado’s favorite winger, Mallory Swanson.
Swanson scored two goals and earned Women of the Match honors for her smooth play during the 95 minute grudge match between the two rivals in Orlando, Florida’s Exploria Stadium.
Not only did Swanson please the patriotic SheBelieves Cup round-robin tournament crowd, so did fellow Coloradan, Lindsey Horan
The Rush Colorado product was liberated from her per usual attacking midfielder role and given the responsibility to play a dual 6 role on the pitch.
Her performance was first rate, as she ruled not only the center of the field, but also the zones in front of both 18-yard boxes.
The 28-year-old almost added a cherry to the top of her game by nearly scoring on an brilliant attempt. “I am loving it,” said Horan said with abroad smile after the match of her new role and involvement in box-to-box play.
The unshakable Horan handled the assignment exceptionally well. She genuinely impacted the Yanks all-round play. Her from-the-back-play often dictated the tempo and positive flow during the gritty game.
But the player who took the cake was Swanson. She was married this winter to MLB star Dansby Swanson, who play as an infielder for the Chicago Cubs. Andonovski eluded to the fact that Mr. Swanson, Mallory’s biggest champion, has been counseling her to raise her game to the next level. “My husband is a winner,” said Swanson.
Emulating his commitment to training and pro baseball play is now her MO. Both Swansons are on the same page and motivated.
And she has been hungry the past few months. Fans saw her at the top of her game last month in New Zealand where she scored in consecutive games. Swanson is feistier than ever. Her self-confidence has leaped up and and locked into her game. More so, she has become more clinical and mastering her finish, even the simple points her already fine game.
Swanson has now scored five times this year. In doing so, the Real Colorado alumni is the fourth-youngest USWNT player with multiple streaks of four games with a goal. She is the youngest since Lady Yank, Abby Wambach did so in 2004.
Swanson has played in a combined 37 games in 2022 for the NWSL Chicago Red Stars Soccer Club and the United States. The 5’4” attacker has delivered either a goal or assist in 19 matches. By the time the year closed out, Swanson combined for 22 goals plus 13 assists in 37 appearances. The newlywed was also a finalist for the 2022 NWSL MVP for the second consecutive season and made Best XI.
Swanson’s first goal against Canada came in the seventh minute on blast from just inside the box.
@MalPugh pic.twitter.com/UZpjyNw8GO— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) February 17, 2023
Some 27 minutes later, she struck again on an ugly turnover by Canada’s right defensive wing. Swanson chased down a weak back pass like a raptor hunting down its prey, and turned the mistake into a brilliant goal against Canada’s oncoming keeper.
Mal read it like a book pic.twitter.com/suaEDAQbcT— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) February 17, 2023
The Yanks now travel to Nashville, Tennessee for their second game of the tournament. They will face FIFA 11th ranked Japan Sunday afternoon. The very clinical side lost their opening match to Brazil 1-0.
The Burgundy Wave will be on-site to catch the highlight from the match at GEODIS Park.