Manager of the US women’s national team Vlatko Andonovski said he was feeling that forward Alex Morgan regains her edge after scoring a goal and winning a penalty for the Americans 2-0 victory over France.
The game was billed as a massive test for the US senior squad as France finished third in the latest FIFA rankings, beating sixth-placed England 3-1. The US took control early on, however, when Morgan was fouled in the penalty area by French defender Aissatou Tounkara in the fourth minute and Megan Rapinoe took the penalty home.
Morgan then doubled the US lead in the 19th minute, took a feed from Christen Press and shot past French goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
From there, the US was in control and kept France in check for the remainder of the game. And it wasn’t just Morgan’s goals that impressed Andonovski.
“Today as a starter I think she performed her role very well,” he said of Morgan. “In addition to the direct influence with the [penalty] and one goal, she was also very involved in our construction. She was able to hold the ball, bring the midfielders into play and relieve the pressure on us. “
Morgan was paused with a bout of COVID-19 earlier this year and gave birth to their daughter Charlie last year. But Andonovski sensed that Morgan had gone around the corner in the last month to regain his sharpness and fitness.
“Of course we don’t just analyze every game, we analyze every training session, and in the last couple of exercises it’s almost like she bumped it [up] a notch, was just a little bit more focused, a little bit more focused, “he said.” And we as employees talked about how she got the killer instinct back. With limited space and time, she scored goals, which was very encouraging for us, and she showed it in the game tonight. “
Morgan made his return to the US during the SheBelieves Cup in February, but the key was a full preseason at the Orlando Pride club.
“I was really looking forward to this camp in general because the preseason with Orlando went really well,” she said. “I felt like I could win that few percent [points] that I was just missing when I got back from pregnancy so felt really good going to this camp. I was really happy to get minutes and both games and I felt like we had a good show tonight. And it’s always nice to be on the report against France, that makes it even more special. “
Andonovski, who set his record as a US women’s manager 17-0-1, was also pleased with the overall team performance, with the US looking sharper than Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Sweden.
“This team is the best when tested and I thought this would be a great test for us to see how quickly we can adjust from the game against Sweden to this game,” he said.
He added, “One of those things was that I said we weren’t patient enough and not clean enough in the last game, which we did pretty well in this game.”