USWNT player ratings vs Ireland: Mallory Swanson injury overshadows win while Julie Ertz and Sophia Smith make long-awaited returns

Comments (0)
Swanson stretcher USWNT Ireland 2023
The USWNT won its friendly against Ireland on Saturday, but likely lost a player who would have starred this summer.

It was a match that could have been, and should have been, a vital building block for the U.S. women's national team ahead of this summer's World Cup. The team saw several stars return and a goal from an unexpected regular as it, eventually, battled to a 2-0 win over a World Cup-bound Ireland.

A good win, for sure, but one that will matter little given what else happened in Austin on Saturday afternoon. On a day where the U.S. fine-tuned for the World Cup, it also lost a player the squad has been counting on for this summer in Australia and New Zealand.

Mallory Swanson's devastating knee injury in Saturday's match will be the story of this two-game set, as it leaves the U.S., potentially, without a star. Swanson was far and away the USWNT's most in-form player so far this year, with seven goals in five games entering this two-game set.

Now, though, Swanson's World Cup is in doubt.

There were some positives to be taken from this, for sure, despite the overwhelming negative that looms over it all. Sophia Smith returned, as did Julie Ertz, who could make a late run at a World Cup spot. And then there's Emily Fox, the unlikely goalscorer in the first half, and Lindsey Horan, who sealed the result with a penalty in the second.

GOAL rates the USWNT's players from Austin...

  1. Goalkeeper & Defense
    Getty Images

    Goalkeeper & Defense

    Alyssa Naeher (7/10):

    The USWNT probably didn't expect to rely on Naeher here, but it certainly did, especially in the first half. Naeher made several big stops as Ireland pushed for the opener.

    Crystal Dunn (7/10):

    Strong on the left side, notably teeing up Rodman for a chance early in the second half. The debate will rage on over her best position, but it can't be denied that she is one hell of a left back with this team.

    Becky Sauerbrunn (7/10):

    Solid as always. You know what you're going to get with the 37-year-old veteran.

    Naomi Girma (7/10):

    Two goal-line clearances on a crazy scramble in the first half. Girma has nothing left to prove. She is the present and future of the USWNT.

    Emily Fox (8/10):

    Doesn't score many, but this was a good one. A fantastic finish from the full back, who has grown into one of the most reliable players in a USWNT shirt even when she isn't on the scoresheet.

  2. Midfield


    Lindsey Horan (7/10):

    Shook off an early knock to stay in the match. Was solid enough, but nothing spectacular until drawing and, ultimately, converting a penalty in the second half to seal the win.

    Andi Sulivan (7/10):

    A good night for Sullivan, who got the assist on Fox's goal. A solid, physical performance from a player battling for a spot in the starting XI.

    Rose Lavelle (8/10):

    So damn smooth on the ball, Lavelle put in a typically solid performance. Could have had an assist or two, but it wasn't to be.

  3. Attack
    Getty Images


    Mallory Swanson (6/10):

    Forget the rating as it simply doesn't matter. This was a nightmare day for Swanson, whose World Cup hopes may very well be over after a catastrophic knee injury. That's bad news for the USWNT and even worse news for Swanson, who has been in the form of her life this year. Fans will nervously await test results.

    Alex Morgan (5/10):

    Aside from a goal-line clearance early, it was very, very quiet from Morgan. Nothing to worry about, though. It happens.

    Sophia Smith (6/10):

    Had one absolutely magical sequence down the right that saw her beat three defenders. So smooth on the ball, but nothing too dangerous in her return to the national team.

  4. Subs & Manager
    Getty Images

    Subs & Manager

    Trinity Rodman (6/10):

    Had several golden chances in the second half, but couldn't quite get them on target. Dangerous as can be, but just lacking that end product.

    Ashley Hatch (6/10):

    Was seconds late to a rebound on her best look of the day. Great hustle and effort, but didn't quite shine and, given the state of the USWNT forward pool, she may be running out of time to do so.

    Emily Sonnett (6/10):

    A few good runs after replacing Dunn, but nothing special.

    Julie Ertz (7/10):

    She's back! In her first game in over 600 days, Ertz looked like her old self. The U.S., even now, is simply a better team with Ertz as the No.6, as crazy as that is after all of this time without here.

    Ashley Sanchez (N/A):

    Replaced Lavelle with just a few minutes left.

    Vlatko Andonovski (6/10):

    Getting closer and closer to figuring out a starting XI, although he'll now have an extra decision to make should Swanson be out for the summer.