Alex Morgan is in the business of scoring goals. And business is booming.
Most recently, Morgan scored goal No. 100 to become the seventh player in WNT history to join the exclusive century mark club. The club also features Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett and Carli Lloyd.
In her last 33 games playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team, Morgan has scored 28 times. They’ve come in a multitude of ways – from the penalty spot, headers, blistering drives and breakaways. She’s scored game-winners and braces, against Japan on July 26 at the 2018 Tournament of Nations, she bagged a hat trick. It was the fourth of her career.
Morgan then added not one, or two, but three braces during the 2018 Concacaf Women's Championship, one in each group game she played in, and another against Jamaica in the crucial semifinal win that booked the U.S. a spot in France 2019. A single goal vs. Canada in the title game on Oct. 17 gave her 7 total - the most of any player - and made her the Golden Boot winner as the tournament's leading scorer.
In 2019 so far she has scored against Japan on Feb. 27, against Australia on April 4 - her 100th - with the latter one being a spectacular one; and vs. Belgium on April 7 to up her total to 101.
Morgan has been scoring for the USA since 2010, and since scoring goals is perhaps the most difficult part of the game, there have been periods of great form and a few dry spells. But the past years has been impressive even by the high standards we’ve come to expect from the 29-year-old.
It’s always been clear that when Morgan is in the zone, opposing defenses are in for a long night.
This 33-game span for Morgan began in the latter half of 2017 after she returned from her six-month stint at Olympique Lyonnais, lasted through the final seven games of 2017, then continued into 2018 and now 2019.
She closed 2017 with seven goals in seven games (which made her the team’s top scorer for the year) and finished 2018 with a team-leading 18 goals in the 19 games in which she played. The 18 goals in the a calendar year are the second most of her career. The only year in which she scored more was in 2012 - an Olympic year - when she netted 28.
Morgan’s first WNT goal came on Oct. 6, 2010 against China PR. She played in eight games that year and scored four goals. She followed that up with six goals in 2011 and had a breakthrough performance at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.
In 2012, Morgan had one of the best scoring years in U.S. history, tallying a remarkable 28 goals with 21 assists to lead the team in both categories. Her goal total was the third-best in U.S. history behind only Michelle Akers (39 in 1991) and Wambach (31 in 2004) and her assist total was tied for second-best in U.S. history behind only Hamm (22 in 2004) and tied with Carin Gabarra (21 in 1991). She also helped the USA to the gold medal at the London Olympics, scoring the epic 123rdminute game-winner in the semifinal final that is still the latest goal in FIFA history, and earned personal recognition when she finished third for the FIFA Player of the Year award and was named the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year for the first time.
The next two years for Morgan were unfortunately plagued by injuries. In 2013, she missed a few games but still played 811 minutes in 12 games and scored six goals with four assists. She spent much of 2014 finishing her recovery but returned to play in seven matches, starting four, while scoring five goals with four assists before she suffered an ankle injury in the second match of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship that kept her out for the rest of the year.
She rounded into shape just in time to participate in her second World Cup at the senior level and she was a key member of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup champions. She came off the bench in the first two games as she regained her fitness, but then got the start in the final group game against Nigeria and started all four knock-out round games. She played in 22 of the USA’s 26 games that year and scored seven goals. She got back to her old self in 2016 when she found the net 17 times, including what was probably the best goal of the year on March 9 against Germany in the SheBelieves Cup.
What's impressive about it all, it not just her scoring rate, but the fact that the goals are coming against elite talent at a time when the level of play worldwide is increasingly competitive. And while the U.S. Women know that nothing is given and everything is earned, with Morgan in her current form, fans are surely looking forward to an entertaining few months ahead.