The USWNT has one more international window this year with games against China on December 2 and 5.
Part of what went wrong in Australia this summer at the World Cup can be blamed on injuries, as they went without players like Becky Sauerbrunn, Mallory Swanson, and Catarina Macario.
It’s been a tough year for the United States when it comes to injuries, and a break is what they need as they look to get healthy and enter into an Olympic year. They’ll have a new coach, and hopefully, with a healthy team, they’ll be able to bounce back from a disappointing World Cup at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.
We take a look at where some of those injured players are now heading into the last two friendlies of 2023.
Sauerbrunn is the leader on the defense for the USWNT, and her absence was felt at the World Cup. She suffered a foot injury in April that sidelined her for nearly six months.
The defender made her return to the field on September 16 with the Portland Thorns. She returned to the national team during the October friendlies against Colombia. She only appeared in one of those matches, playing 45 minutes.
She looks to be fit again as she played 105 minutes for the Portland Thorns in their semifinal match on November 5.
Having a healthy Sauerbrunn is good news for the USWNT, that’s looking to bounce back. She’s a great defender, but she’s also their quiet leader, and with a lot of new faces, they’ll likely lean on her during the Olympics.
At the beginning of 2023, Swanson was arguably in the best form of her career, leading the USWNT with goals. In April, against Ireland, Swanson went down with what turned out to be a serious knee injury. The forward tore her patellar tendon and has been out since. The injury forced her to miss the rest of the NWSL season as well as the 2023 World Cup.
She’s made good progress, though. In September, she posted on Instagram that she had started to run on grass again. There’s no timetable for her return to the field yet, but her running is good news for the USWNT as they look to have her back on the field for the Olympics, which start at the end of July.
Macario is another young player who seemed to be playing some of her best soccer before she was sidelined by an ACL tear in 2022. It’s been a long recovery for Macario, as she has been trying to return to play for over a year after suffering the injury.
The expectation is that Macario will return to the field soon, and she should be ready by next year.
In June, Macario signed a contract with Chelsea in the WSL, but she has yet to make her debut for the Blues.
Press, who is a veteran of the USWNT, also suffered an ACL tear. Press tore her ACL in June of 2022 and has since had four surgeries on her knee in an attempt to fix the tear and get her back on the field.
The forward announced in July that she had undergone her fourth procedure on her injured knee. Her recovery has been incredibly long, and there still isn’t a timetable for her return. Hopefully, she’s on the road to recovery and won’t need to have any other surgeries on that knee.
Another player who has had a long recovery is midfielder Samantha Mewis. She has been sidelined since 2021 with a lingering knee issue. The midfielder shared in July that she had another procedure done in February of this year. The exact injury has been unknown, but it has been a long recovery for Mewis.
Hopefully, she’ll be able to get back onto the field next season, but with no confirmation, we’ll have to wait.
Featured image via Getty Images
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