Of late, Mallory Swanson has been operating under a single theme- attention to the little things especially when the opportunity to score comes along. During the 2023 SheBelieves Cup she exceeded everyone’s expectations. Possibly here own too.
Her fearless disposition, commitment to finish and four goals not only earned her the opportunity to hoist the tournament’s championship trophy, but also one that was made out to her- the Most Valuable Player keepsake trophy.
Before a rambunctious Frisco, Texas crowd of just over 17,000, Swanson once again delivered on said promises to improve her overall game.
At the 63rd minute mark of the edgy match, she scored on another breakaway goal, when she caught up to a pass from Rose Lavelle. Swanson promtly sliced the ball past the oncoming Brazilian goalkeeper to put the Yanks up 2-0.
And her goal was much appreciated, as Brazil kept up their counter attacks and ultimately scored a few minutes later.
Mallory Swanson does it again!— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 23, 2023
: @NBCUniverso & @peacock for Spanish Coverage#SheBelievesCup | #USWNT pic.twitter.com/LpyXNFm51H
Alex Morgan scored the first goal for the States at the end of the first half. Ludmila scored a consolation goal for Brazil in the 90th minute to make the final score 2-1.
The Yanks’ head coach Vlatko Andonovski spoke at length about Swanson on Sunday night after she lead his team to a 1-0 win over a very onerous Japan side. The reflective skipper said, “One of the toughest conversations that she probably had in her career was with me before that. When the Olympic [delayed Summer Games 2020-21] roster was announced, I had a conversation, and we talked a lot where she’s at and the choices are now that she didn’t make the Olympic roster. I think even she says it herself that a little bit of a wake-up call.”
This all took place in 2020. Swanson [then Pugh] was on a steep trajectory. However, understandably, sometimes it was filled with a mix of setbacks.
Andonovski continued with members of the media, “I’m glad she took the direction that she did. She’s now in a really good space. And another reason was she actually leaned a lot on her husband [Dansby Swanson] who has been tremendous in this period of time to help her out get out from the situation or the stages she was at and to help her rebuild herself, rebuild her career, and become one of the best players in the world.”
Back in 2020, when then asked by the Burgundy Wave why she wasn’t didn’t make the Olympic Team roster, Andonovski stated, ”It was competitive and she did well, but there were other players that I believed performed better than Mal. Now, by saying that, I want to be clear that she is a very good, very talented player. She performed well. She has a big future in front of her. I’m pretty sure that if she keeps on developing going forward, she will be on this roster.”
The Yanks’ head coach Vlatko Andonovski spoke at length about Swanson on Sunday night after she lead the team to a tip-and-tuck win over Japan. The reflective skipper said, “One of the toughest conversations that she probably had in her career was with me before that. When the Olympic [delayed Summer Games 2020-21] roster was announced, I had a conversation, and we talked a lot where she’s at and the choices are now that she didn’t make the Olympic roster. I think even she says it herself that a little bit of a wake-up call.”
Thinking of what was ahead of his team, and what was at stake at the Olympics in Japan, he added, “Making this roster was highly competitive. The players came in ready physically and mentally to compete for every roster spot, and at the end, the ones that I believe will give us a chance to be successful and will give us the best chance to qualify for the Olympics are the ones that made the roster.”
But Swanson’s steady devotion, mighty effort and expected maturity have paid-off handsomely.
She has been red hot since late last year, both with the national team and her NWSL, Chicago Red Stars Club.
She has scored eight times in her last six games.
“I think honestly it’s been a good run. I’ve really just tried to focus on being present and just taking it day by day, game by game,” said the Highlands Ranch, Colorado native after the Brazil match
Swanson’s strike against Brazil was her eighth all-time at the SheBelieves Cup. In scoring, she broke a tie with Megan Rapinoe to become the all-time scoring leader in competition history.
The 24-year-old now has the longest scoring streak of her career, and is tied for the fourth-longest streak in USWNT history.
According to U.S. Soccer’s media guide, the only other players in USWNT history to have scoring streaks of six games or longer are Abby Wambach, Carin Jennings Gabarra, Carli Lloyd, Christen Press and Michelle Akers, who had three such streaks in her career.
“Anytime that you have a chance to play for a championship and to win it all, it’s always special,” Swanson said. “If we keep on focusing on the details of everything, we’ll get a win.”
And another champion the Lady Yanks have won.
Most of the players will now resume NWSL play. Their preseason is gearing up and match play will start on March 25th.
Fellow Coloradoan Lindsey Horan will return to France and rejoin her Lyon team that is in already in the middle of their season. She is looking both Division 1 Féminine and UEFA Championship play.
Sophia Smith, U.S. Soccer’s Player of the Year, was absent from this tournament because of a slow healing injury. She will catch up with her home team, the Portland Thorns.
And CU Buff’s Taylor Kornieck midfielder will report to San Diego with Alex Morgan and commence preseason camp with the Waves FC.
There are two FIFA international windows remaining until World Cup kicks-off for the U.S. on July 22nd in Auckland.
The first is in April, followed by another in June
The USWNT return to play in Austin, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri for a pair of friendlies with the Republic of Ireland. The game in Austin will be on Saturday, April 8 at Q2 Stadium and the St. Louis match will be Tuesday, April 11 at the new CITYPARK.
These will be the final international matches for the USWNT before the 23-player World Cup roster is decided.