Superstar Alex Morgan left off USWNT Gold Cup roster

Longtime star Alex Morgan isn’t part of the United States Women’s National Team roster that will compete in the Gold Cup later this month in Southern California.

The omission stands out due to Morgan being a stalwart of the national program. The veteran of four Women’s World Cups ranks fifth in USWNT history with 121 career goals.

But Morgan is now 34 years old and coming off a mediocre World Cup showing performance last year when she didn’t score a goal in four matches. The Americans struggled and were ousted by Sweden in the round of 16.

Morgan scored six goals in 2019 when the USWNT won the World Cup.

Interim national team coach Twila Kilgore discussed the roster but didn’t specifically address Morgan’s omission.

“Nobody is out of the mix,” Kilgore said. “That goes for some of our bigger names, that goes for lesser names that we’ve been tracking. We want to get it right, and everybody’s still involved.”

Kilgore said there is plenty of meaning for the event that takes place Feb. 17-March 10 in Los Angeles, San Diego and Houston.

“Not only is there a trophy on the line, but this is a great opportunity to capitalize on meaningful match opportunities and experience the short turnarounds between games, which is a rhythm that closely mirrors the Olympic format,” Kilgore said in a news release. “We are going to take our next steps together as we continue to evolve our style of play and provide opportunities for players to grow into possible future roles and partnerships.

“There is something special about tournament play and what it can bring out of players. We are hopefully going to be together for a month and we are looking forward to both finding and enjoying that working rhythm required to be in tournament for long stretches while upholding and driving our standards forward. We can’t wait for the opportunity.”

Kilgore is running the squad until Emma Hayes takes over in the spring. Hayes is currently coaching Chelsea, which competes overseas in the Women’s Super League.

Veteran defender Becky Sauerbrunn also was left off the squad. Sauerbrunn, 38, missed the Women’s World Cup due to a foot injury.

Among the familiar names on the roster are midfielders Lindsay Horan and Rose Lavelle, forward Sophia Smith, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defenders Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn and Naomi Girma.

Girma was named U.S. Soccer’s Female Player of the Year for 2023. She was one of the top U.S. performers in the World Cup and also was named NWSL Defender of the Year for her prowess with the San Diego Wave.

Forward Mallory Swanson, who missed the World Cup due to a serious knee injury, will train with the team but isn’t part of the roster.

San Diego will host the semifinals and final with the championship match slated for March 10. The USWNT will open play Group A play on Feb. 20 in Carson, Calif., against either Guyana or the Dominican Republic. Those nations meet in a preliminary round game on Feb. 17.

USWNT roster (pro team in parentheses)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (Seattle Reign FC), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC), Tierna Davidson (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Crystal Dunn (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Fox (Arsenal FC, ENG), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Casey Krueger (Washington Spirit), Jenna Nighswonger (NY/NJ Gotham FC)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Rose Lavelle (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (NJ/NY Gotham FC)

FORWARDS (6): Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, ENG), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)