Bench Alex Morgan? Despite Carli Lloyd's criticism, the USWNT will need their star striker more than ever in the World Cup knockouts

Alex Morgan USWNT GFXGetty

The calls are growing louder after the United States women's national team's disappointing 0-0 draw against Portugal. It's an almost unthinkable prospect, given what we know. After all of these years, after all of these big moments, big goals and big wins, could the U.S. really bench Alex Morgan for their upcoming last-16 clash with Sweden?

That's what the legendary Carli Lloyd is calling for after a frustrating group stage, one headlined by Morgan's own struggles in front of goal. For years, Morgan has been among the top players in the sport. Whether you judge by the eye test or data, you have to put Morgan in that pantheon of attacking greats.

Yet, she's been anything but great since the World Cup began. Through three games, she's yet to find the back of the net as the USWNT attack has totally floundered. With just four total goals in three games, three of which came against Vietnam, it's safe to say attacking woes may just be their Achilles Heel this summer.

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Is dropping Morgan the way to fix that and, if not, what can Vlatko Andonovski do to get more out of his superstar forward?