United States women’s national team manager Vlatko Andonovski said forward Mallory Swanson is “doing better than he thought emotionally” in the wake of her torn patella tendon, an injury that is almost certain to keep Swanson out of this summer’s World Cup.
Swanson sustained the injury in the 40th minute of Saturday’s 2-0 win over Ireland after holding on to a challenge from defender Aoife Mannion. Swanson was stretchered off the field and taken to a local hospital in Austin, Texas, where he received his diagnosis.
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He has since returned to Chicago, but Andonovsky said Swanson has yet to undergo surgery. A U.S. Soccer spokeswoman did not elaborate on the severity of the injury.
“Honestly, he’s doing better than I thought,” Andonovski told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s second meeting with Ireland in St. Louis. “He’s stronger than me, let’s put it that way.”
Andonovsky added that he has since spoken to Swanson and is amazed by his positive attitude.
“Even before we knew what the injury was, when he was walking out, he had this big smile on his face and said, ‘Coach, I’m fine. I’m going to be fine,'” he said. “When I talked to him he was really good and he was very grateful for all the support he got from the staff, from the players and from the environment. He said he wants the team to be successful. , and he is our most There are going to be big supporters, so very, very good mentality, very good mentality.”
Andonovsky said Swanson’s upbeat attitude was a constant in the US camp and will be missed. But he insisted that the team must move on.
“It’s not easy, but that’s who he is,” he said of Swanson. “He’s not like that in one place and different in another. That’s the way he is in the environment. That’s the way he is in training, in tough moments. That’s the way he is when he’s happy. It rubs off on the rest of the team so everybody loves him in the environment. But at the same time, we Everyone understands that we have a job to do. [get] It is now in the past, and we have to prepare for the World Cup. We have to work.”
Trinity Rodman, Lynn Williams, Megan Rapinoe and 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson are all in contention to fill in for Swanson, who had scored seven goals in her last five international games before Saturday’s match. Rapinoe is out of camp with a lower leg injury. Andonovski said Thompson, initially left off the roster, was already packing his bags at halftime of Saturday’s game, and would see the field at some point on Tuesday.
“[Thompson] An exciting player,” Andonovski said. “He has the ability to turn around in small spaces that a lot of players don’t. And it’s not just the turn, he accelerates on the ball and runs through defenses with confidence. I’d almost say sometimes, for an 18-year-old, it’s borderline arrogant when he approaches you.”
Andonovski added that midfielder Rose Lovell will not feature in Tuesday’s game due to a “slight knock” and has been left out as a precaution.
“It’s not a moment for us to take any chances,” Andonovski said, “Although Rose was not happy with the decision because he felt he could play, we think it’s a good opportunity for us to see other players and at the same time be very, very safe. .”
US defender Becky Sauerbrunn will be honored with her 200th international cap before Tuesday’s match. Andonovski noted that he has worked with Sauerbrunn professionally at club and international level for 10 years and values what he brings to his team.
“From day one, we could see the type of person [Sauerbrunn] The kind of leader he is, and on top of that, an amazing player,” Andonovski said. “So it’s been a really great experience for me personally and honored to be able to work with him and have at least a small impact. on his career.