USWNT’s Mia Fishel suffers ACL injury on eve of Gold Cup

Alex Morgan, a longtime mainstay of the U.S. women’s national team, has been added to the roster for the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup after Mia Fishel suffered an injury during training, U.S. Soccer said Tuesday.

Fishel tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during training on Monday, opening the door for the veteran forward to be part of the squad when the US opens its tournament against the Dominican Republic on February 20.

“As we enter this tournament, we are fortunate to add a player like Alex to the roster,” said U.S. interim head coach Twila Kilgore. “Her performance speaks for itself, she has trained extremely hard in the preseason with the (NWSL’s San Diego) Wave, and I know she will be more than ready to contribute in this tournament.”

When Morgan was left out of the initial squad announced two weeks ago, it raised questions about whether she would be in the team for this year’s Paris Olympics. She now returns to the fold with the opportunity to help lead the USWNT’s redemption tour.

The 34-year-old Morgan, who has a reputation for scoring big goals when the stakes are highest, was a key member of U.S. teams that won two World Cups (2015, 2019) and an Olympic gold medal in 2012. Morgan has won 215 caps and scored 121 international goals, placing her fifth on the U.S. women’s list of all-time top scorers.

Fishel will miss the remainder of Chelsea’s WSL season, as well as the Paris Olympics and the knockout rounds of the UWCL. “I’m devastated for Mia, and I know the team and the entire staff are too,” Kilgore said. “She has been very effective in camp and has worked hard to make an impact. Since being called up to the national team, she has demonstrated a tremendous growth mindset, a desire to absorb information and has been a true team player.”

Fishel moved to Chelsea in a £250,000 transfer from Tigres in the summer of 2023, with Shas taking on the bulk of the club’s creative burden since Sam Kerr suffered her own ACL injury earlier this season. The pressure will now be on Mayra Ramírez to provide Chelsea’s goal threat, who joined from Levante last month for a British record fee. But in the short term, her loss will be felt even more by the USWNT.

Following their tournament opener, the USWNT will play Argentina on February 23 before wrapping up the group stage against Mexico on February 26. The top two finishers in each of the three Concacaf W Gold Cup groups, along with the top two third-placed teams, will qualify for the knockout stages.