Mallory Swanson suffers torn patella in left knee against Ireland

Mallory Swanson suffered a torn patella in her left knee, U.S. Soccer announced Sunday, and places her World Cup in serious jeopardy.

Per U.S. Soccer, Swanson will be replaced by 18-year-old forward Alyssa Thompson, a rookie with Angel City FC. Meanwhile Swanson returned to Chicago on Sunday for further evaluation.

A Highlands Ranch native, Swanson (neĆ© Pugh) had to be carted off in the first half of Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland at Q2 Stadium in Austin Texas. With the FIFA Women’s World Cup three-and-a-half months out, it’s likely she will be forced to miss the tournament which is set to be played in Australia and New Zealand.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a torn patella take six months to recover fully from, while “many patients report that they required 12 months before they reached all of their goals.”

She was caught late in a challenge by Aoife Mannion later in the first half and had to be carted off and was taken to the hospital for immediate evaluation. While she was waiving to the crowd and in good spirits in the cart, after the 90 minutes of action Swanson’s injury was ultimately front-of-mind for U.S. fans rather than a victory.

Swanson had been in near-impeccable form with the U.S., as she scored seven goals through the first five games of the year and added another goal at club level with the Chicago Red Stars. She has been preparing for her first major tournament since the 2019 Women’s World Cup, after she was a surprise omission from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics U.S. squad which took home bronze.

Considering the U.S. striker pool Swanson alongside Windsor native Sophia Smith are two of the most relied-on finishers in the group, but losing one of the Coloradans changes how the U.S. will be able to attack defenses. Swanson has been lauded for the way she can dictate tempo with the ball at her feet by attacking at full speed. Off the ball she has found ways to make smart runs to drag defenders to her, which opens up space for her teammates.

The USWNT will have one final tune-up game before the World Cup, another friendly against the Republic of Ireland. Kickoff will be Tuesday, April 11 at 5:30 p.m. MST and will be available to watch on HBO Max and Peacock.

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