USWNT ratings vs Ireland: All eyes on Alyssa Thompson after Mallory Swanson injury, but Alana Cook steals the show

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Cook USWNT goal Ireland 2023
The focus may have been on the team's 18-year-old prodigy, but it was a centerback's first goal that made the difference.

On Tuesday night, we got a look at what the U.S. women's national team could look like without Mallory Swanson.

The injury, which occurred in Saturday's 2-0 win over Ireland, was a heartbreaker as it leaves the USWNT without the pool's most in-form player. Where would the goals come from now? It's a fair question.

Well, at least on this night, the goal came from the unlikeliest of source: a centerback. And it came from the unlikeliest of places: about 35 yards away from goal.

No, it wasn't Becky Sauerbrunn in front of her hometown crowd, but actually Alana Cook, who scored her first USWNT goal on her 26th birthday. It was a stunner, too, as Cook chipped the goalkeeper from miles out to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead they'd never relinquish.

Much of the focus, though, was on the attack and, in particular, the USWNT's 18-year-old superstar Alyssa Thompson. Brought into camp to replace Swanson, Thompson was thrust right into the XI in her place as well, showing signs of why she could make a late push for a roster spot.

GOAL rates the USWNT players from CITYPARK...

  1. Goalkeeper & Defense

    Goalkeeper & Defense

    Casey Murphy (6/10):

    Only real danger came from corners, and Murphy was up for it.

    Kelley O'Hara (6/10):

    A pretty good performance in her first USMNT appearance since July. Was active in the attack and nearly got a goal. Even at 34, O'Hara can still impact the game when called upon.

    Becky Sauerbrunn (N/A):

    Came so, so close to her first USWNT goal, only for her shot to hit the bar. The hometown hero's appearance was essentially a feel good cameo, and it would have been perfect if the defender's header had gone in. Maybe next time.

    Alana Cook (8/10):

    An absolute golazo, and on her birthday no less! The defender's first USWNT goal was a spectacular one and she was otherwise solid defensively. No complaints.

    Sofia Huerta (7/10):

    Pretty good game from Huerta, who was a menace on the right-hand side all game.

  2. Midfield


    Lindsey Horan (6/10):

    Picked up a knock just before coming out. To be fair, Horan probably didn't need to be out there at that point anyway. We know what she is and what she brings.

    Andi Sullivan (6/10):

    Sat deeper but just didn't really impact the game. Given where we are in the cycle, there are still so many questions about Sullivan's place in the XI and this match won't answer many of them.

    Ashley Sanchez (7/10):

    Was absolutely pinging passes all over the field. Offers something a bit different in midfield, and that was on full display.

  3. Attack


    Alyssa Thompson (6/10):

    Was all over the place, but seemed just a little bit too excited and a little bit too nervous. Should have been a bit more selfish rather than setting up Smith early on in her best sequence. Still, showed signs of how good she is and can be.

    Alex Morgan (5/10):

    Threatened a few times, but nothing crazy. Only played 45 minutes before being taken out in place of Ashley Hatch.

    Sophia Smith (6/10):

    Wasted an early chance when teed up by Thompson and nearly drew a penalty late in the first half. Active as always, but just not quite sharp in her 45-minute runout.

  4. Subs & Manager
    Getty Images

    Subs & Manager

    Tierna Davidson (6/10):

    Was never really threatened with the U.S. largely in control.

    Trinity Rodman (6/10):

    So, so dangerous. Created several chances during her 45 minutes on the field and, even if none resulted in goals, it was a good performance.

    Casey Krueger (7/10):

    Was super active after coming on at halftime. Probably a little bit better than O'Hara, who she replaced.

    Ashley Hatch (6/10):

    Had a chance in the 79th minute, but missed the target. She's in a tough spot, and her another game without a goal won't help.

    Julie Ertz (7/10):

    From what we've seen, can we officially say Ertz is back? The team is just better with her out there.

    Kristie Mewis (7/10):

    Was pretty good after coming on to replace Horan. Probably should have come on earlier, to be fair.

    Vlatko Andonovski (7/10):

    Wonder how much he learned from this one. Still some big question marks all over the pitch, and this game probably didn't help too much.