Alex Morgan and the US Women's National Football Team entered the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup as one of the favorites to take home the crown in the most prestigious international football tournament. However, the USWNT hasn't been up to snuff at all. In fact, they just came out of the group stage by the skin of their teeth, holding on to second place in Group E after grinding out a 0-0 draw against Portugal.
In fact, Portugal had a chance to knock out the USWNT entirely. In stoppage time, the Portuguese nearly scored the winner, with substitute Ana Capeta's shot denied by the post. Clearly, the USWNT have a lot of work left to do if they were to defend their World Cup crown. And with Rose Lavelle unable to suit up for the team in the Round of 16, their task only serves to become more difficult.
Nevertheless, Alex Morgan urged her squad to shake off whatever negative feelings there may be from failing to achieve the result they wanted, as not all hope is lost for the USWNT.
“It's not the result we wanted, but we move forward,” Morgan said following the match, per Caitlin Murray of ESPN.
Even then, as the USWNT continues to move forward, they will have to take away plenty of lessons from their uninspiring effort against Portugal. The Portuguese held on to the ball very well, achieving 56 percent of the possession. Meanwhile, the USWNT, even though they created 17 chances, with six of them on target, failed to be clinical in front of goal once again, which is the story of their 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup thus far.
To end the group stage, the USWNT only managed to score four goals, which is a far cry from their dominant showing in 2019. Four years ago, Alex Morgan and company put the ball into the back of the net 18 times without allowing a single goal, setting the stage for their dominant run to winning the tournament. Morgan and the rest of the USWNT frontline will have to figure it out and soon, especially when the knockout games are right around the corner.