United States (U.S) women’s national team fans got news on Sunday they never wanted to hear, as Catarina Macario announced she tore her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) at the very end of Olympique Lyon’s season.
She suffered the injury during the club’s final Division 1 Féminine game against Issy, played on short rest after Lyon had clinched the domestic title the weekend prior.
Macario has had a career year, leading Lyon in goals scored in all competitions, including nine in the UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL).
One of the blessings of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT’s) player pool depth is that a key injury shouldn’t sink the team’s prospects, but Macario’s injury does shift things.
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The depth chart for center forward just got one player shorter for World Cup Qualifying, which means we will likely see both Alex Morgan and Ashley Hatch in June.
The USWNT’s forward depth is an embarrassment of riches, but many key prospects play on the wing, while Macario seemed to have established herself as the starter at the No. 9 position.
Ultimately, the USWNT will likely have to trust a young core to carry them through World Cup Qualifying.
Macario’s absence is a blow, after starting center back Tierna Davidson also tore her ACL, and regular starters Crystal Dunn and Julie Ertz remain absent due to pregnancies.
Getting the balance right for World Cup Qualifying was always going to be a challenge for Vlatko Andonovski, but Macario’s injury adds yet another wrinkle.
Expect her back for the SheBelieves Cup in 2023, and other players to carry the load through 2022.
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