The announcement of the final U.S. Women's Olympic roster on Sunday afternoon took some of the suspense out of the friendly later that evening against China. The match changed from being an audition for players hoping to make the team, to a showcase for the squad that will most likely start when the Olympics get underway in July.
This 18-player roster looks very much like the same squad that finished second in the 2011 World Cup, but Sunday we saw a glimpse of how one player's role has changed dramatically in the past year. Alex Morgan put on a show, scoring a pair of goals and setting up another in the US 's 4-1 victory at PPL Park on Sunday night.
Morgan looked every bit like the most dangerous player on the field, showing off her speed, strength, tenacity and deadly finishing ability.
This isn't exactly breaking news. Morgan has spent the past year building on the momentum of her inspiring performances at the 2011 World Cup, where she came off the bench late in games and scored some of the most important goals of the tournament. So far in 2012, counting Sunday's virtuoso performance, Morgan has tallied 13 goals and eight assists in 12 national team matches. Mind-blowing numbers for a 22-year-old player on a stacked U.S. team.
Her super sub days are over. Morgan is taking her game to new heights, and as scary as it sounds, her form on the field is matching up to the growing hype surrounding her off the field. She is more than just a pretty face drawing interest from corporations trying to capitalize on her combination of beauty and skill. Morgan is a bonafide superstar in the making, as her form since last summer's World Cup has shown.
Sunday's game was the kind of game U.S. fans--and her teammates--are quickly growing accustomed to from Morgan.