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Swanson, Davidson Usher In New USWNT Era With Giant Win

Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) kicked off a new era with a bang last weekend, as Emma Hayes’s first match as manager ended in a 4-0 win over Korea Republic.

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Mallory Swanson tallied a brace, making her first two goals for the United States (US) since returning from a knee injury suffered in April 2023.

Defender Tierna Davidson also contributed two goals to the total, both coming off of set pieces.

Competition for the USWNT’s 18-player Olympic roster has been fierce, as the team also tries to make early strides as a group under Hayes.

The team’s starting XI had an average age of 25.5, making them the youngest starting group in over two years.

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"You can see we’re building something," Hayes told reporters after the game. "There’s lots of work to do. There’s lots of holes in our play, no question, but it was a good start."

The game saw the happy return of Catarina Macario to the starting lineup for the first time since 2022, as she's been slowly returning to action following an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.

Macario lined up as the team's No. 10 in the midfield, with Swanson, Sophia Smith, and Trinity Rodman rounding out the frontline.

Jane Campbell started as the goalkeeper, while Chicago Red Stars center-back Sam Staab earned her first USWNT cap in the second half.

Meanwhile…

Hayes noted the absence of veteran star Alex Morgan from the game, but explained that she chose to rest the decorated forward merely as a precaution.

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"[Morgan] felt yesterday — this is an important issue to raise — maybe stretching a little bit her pelvic area. I told her yesterday I'm not going to take any risks today, because I want her to play Tuesday," Hayes said.

There's only one more game to be played until Hayes names her Olympic roster: a second matchup against South Korea.

Early returns have been positive teamwide, but Hayes will have to make some quick, definitive decisions very soon.

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