When head coach of the United States Women’s National Team Vlatko Andonovski was asked about Mallory Swanson’s smashing play of late, the matter-of-fact skipper said, “We’re very happy with her, and I truly believe we still haven’t seen the best of Mal.”
In the past few months, the 24-year-old Swanson has been re-evaluating her overall approach to her game.
During a team press conference after their match with a brawny Canadian side in Orlando, the Real Colorado Soccer Club icon said that in previous seasons her attention to finishing was, in so many words, indistinct.
“I was in positions to make easy shots, and there were finishes that I just needed to simply put away. So I honed in on that. I focused on that, and will continue to do just that.”
Her new found attention to details have generated efficacious results, not only for her, but also her team. Swanson’s two-goal show against Canada, follows her three goals in New Zealand in January. Five goals in less than two-months is nothing to sneeze at when playing against top international foes.
Swanson now has 30 goals in her burgeoning career, moving into a tie with Brandi Chastain and Amy Rodriguez for 20th on the USA’s all-time scoring list.
Positive outcomes have sent Swanson’s confidence sky-high. So have frank conversations with her new housemate, spouse Dansby Swanson, who is an acclaimed MLS shortstop for the Chicago Cubs. It is accurate to say that his influence on his new bride has impacted her pledge to exceed the demands of elite level training, practice and play.
During the same presser, Andonovski not only commented on Swanson’s talents as a fleet-footed slasher, elegant dribbler and ability harmonize nicely with her teammates, but he also noted the groove that she is in now.
“She’s not just confident and playing well, it’s one of those things where you’re just feeling it. And she’s feeling it. That’s the simplest way I can put it.” He added with an appeasing grin, ”She’s in the moment.”
The lofty-goal-setting skipper added, ”I don’t know if I would say that’s what I expect, but that’s what I want from her every game. Two goals, what else is there to say? And it’s not just the two goals. Her flair in the game, she just makes it look easy.”
He continued, “ Every time I watch her play, in games and in training, she makes me feel like I can go back and play this game! That’s how easy it looks.”
The re-focused and re-energized Swanson has scored in four consecutive games. The first being against a strong Germany squad back in mid-November in Fort Lauderdale. She and her fellow Real Soccer winger, Sophia Smith both scored, and led the Lady Yanks to a 2-1 victory.
Her charged-up psyche is also paying dividends with players that are even younger. Andonovski stated “she’s becoming a really good leader on and off the field. Her understanding of the game is very good and her ability to help the players around her is tremendous. We actually talk to her about it a lot. Sometimes she doesn’t realize how much she’s helping with her communication, especially with some of the younger players.”
Barring any injuries and setbacks, the high potential young lady from metro-Denver’s Highlands Ranch suburb just might peak at the right time when she departs for Auckland with her mates, and they open their play in the summer of 2023 Women’s World Cup Tournament.
With just a few more international friendlies left on the schedule, plus games with her NWSL side, Swanson will focus on making incremental headway ahead of the royal dance Down Under.
“I wish I could tell you how far she can go,” Andonovski concluded. “I want to take credit for some of the things that she does, but she’s just special. She’s so good that I don’t think anyone can take credit for what she can do except for Mal.”
Swanson next outing will be during game two of the three-game round robin SheBelieves Cup contest, when the U.S. faces-off with Japan team.
Match play against FIFA’s 11th ranked Nadeshiko Japan commences this Sunday at 1:30pm MT in Nashville, Tennessee. The teams will square off at GEODIS Park, the largest soccer specific stadium in the United States.
Both TNT, HBO Max, Universo and Peacock will broadcast the affair.