Ultimately, Alex Morgan’s Olympique Lyonnaise teammates prevailed in penalties when the Paris Saint Germain’s goalie missed her kick and the OL goalie made her penalty to give OL the 7-6 win in the shootout.
Alex Morgan’s season at OL resulted in the treble - Lyon won the French women’s league, the French Cup, and now the Champions League. Granted, OL also won last year’s Champions League (in PK as well) and is the most loaded women’s soccer club team in the world. Nonetheless, Morgan was able to be a reliable part of that squad for stretches of the season when healthy.
When your emotional level is ALL OVER the place in 120+ min and it ends on a high!Feeling overwhelmed and complete in this moment. Allez OL! pic.twitter.com/BNk9boDtNj— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) June 1, 2017
Alex Morgan’s first UEFA Women’s Champions League final experience was a brief one. After being named to the starting lineup despite missing the last 16 days due to a hamstring issue, Morgan hurt her hamstring again in the 18th minute and had to be replaced in the 22nd minute mark.
The match was scoreless when Morgan exited. She was involved with a little bit of the OL build up to an attack but they did not amount to anything. Morgan had also missed the Women’s France Cup final recently, a match between these two teams. OL won that final 7-6 in penalty shootout after 1-1 draw in regulation.
This injury makes Morgan’s availability in the upcoming USWNT trip to Scandinavia in serious doubt. Morgan’s original plan to suit up for the Orlando Pride of the NSWL will likely also be pushed back.
Fortunately for Morgan and USWNT, 2017 is more or less a lull year after the Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Games in the past two years. Morgan can afford to wait in her recovery without missing any major international matches.
GET WELL SOON, ALEX!
Last December, Cal Women’s Soccer alum and international superstar (she shared the FIFA video game cover with Lionel Messi) Alex Morgan surprised some by declaring that she will be joining Olympique Lyonnais - arguably the best club women’s soccer team currently. Olympique Lyonnais won the Women’s Champions League title in 2016. Morgan will join her NWSL team, the Orlando Pride, after the OL season is over.
Morgan’s move to an European team was followed by the news of Carli Lloyd joining Manchester City (USWNT teammate Crystal Dunn had announced that she was joining Chelsea a little bit before Morgan’s announcement). With three years until the next Women’s World Cup, this was the best time for these US Women to go play oversea and test themselves in arguably the best professional women’s soccer tournament - the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Excited to start my journey with Olympique Lyonnais. Thank you L'Equipe Magazine for featuring me and this incredibly successful team! pic.twitter.com/2kYnn8Ruam— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) January 12, 2017
Lyon is also a great city with top notch food (some call it the Gastronomic Capital of the World, I agree with that from my two days spent there in 2016) - splitting time between the national team and her Cal team, Alex Morgan obviously didn’t have the time to study abroad in college. Although she has extensively traveled the world for soccer, that is a different experience than living in a foreign country.
Alex Morgan’s France adventure are documented in this YouTube series.
From her checking out the food competition:
To modeling her new jersey:
To visiting local children:
Unfortunately, Morgan’s Lyon tenure started a bit slowly with her suffering an injury right away. Morgan was healthy when she came back to the US to play in the SheBelieves Cup in late February but really only got to play 1.5 match of the 3 match series that saw the favorite USWNT finishing 4th in 3 matches against England, France, and Germany. The entire USWNT roster and tactic is kind of a mess right now as Head Coach Jill Ellis searches for players that will be USWNT mainstay for the next Women’s World Cup (2019) and the Olympics (2020). On another note, USWNT rising star Mallory Pugh has opted to turn pro and forgo her NCAA eligibility to play for UCLA.
Soon after that, Morgan found her form and started to score goals in bunches. Alex Morgan has scored 12 goals in 15 matches (including zero goals in her first three matches) - 5 goals in 8 National Women’s Soccer France Championship matches, 7 goals in Women’s France Cup, and still searching for that first goal in 4 Champions League matches. With Olympique Lyonnais, Morgan has already won the National Women’s Soccer France Championship and the Women’s French Cup.
With Lyon, Morgan is playing wide on the left of the front three where she has also been counted on to stop the opposing outside back. The new experience should be good for Alex Morgan’s overall development as a more complete player. Morgan also gets to play with top talent with OL, such as reigning UEFA Player of the Year in Ada Hegerberg and another quality striker in Eugenie Le Sommer. On the flip side, it is no guarantee that Morgan gets the start over those two other strikes if OL is going with just 2 strikers in their formation.
Her biggest challenge, however, was playing against Carli Lloyd and Manchester City in the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinals.
Although Alex Morgan didn’t score a goal herself, Morgan’s team was able to take a commanding 3-1 away lead in the first leg. Playing as a sub in the 2nd leg, Morgan’s OL technically lost 1-0 but still won the semifinal via combined goals.
Olympique Lyonnais will play Paris Saint-Germain for the Women’s Champions League title. OL defeated PSG in the Women’s Frances Cup final on May 19th via 7-6 shootout after an 1-1 game. Unfortunately, Alex Morgan missed that match with a hamstring injury.
It would be a shame if Alex Morgan can not get to experience the Champions League final. Recurring leg injury has slowed down Morgan’s goal scoring rate. At some point, Morgan was on pace to shatter both Mia Hamm and Abbey Wambach’s goal records, but now it looks much less likely. Partially to blame has also been the rise in quality displayed by other countries in the last decade.
The latest news is that Alex Morgan is fit for the Final on Thursday (Thanks, Google Translate!).
Morgan is still one of the best women’s soccer play in the world. At age 27, Morgan is in the middle of her prime (for reference Carli Lloyd is 34 and only kicked her game up to another level in the last 3 years or so).
After the trip to Cardiff, Morgan will join the USWNT team in Sweden and Norway for two friendlies before returning to he Orlando Pride. Alex Morgan’s husband, fellow Cal alum, Servando Carrasco is a midfielder for the Orlando City SC.
Best of luck to Alex Morgan in the biggest women’s soccer stage this year; hopefully, she will be fit enough to play the 90 minutes (or at least 60-70 minutes). It is not a given that Morgan will play for OL (or another European team) next year, so hopefully she will make the most out of this opportunity.
UEFA Women’s Champions League
Where: Cardiff City Stadium (Cardiff, Wales)
When: June 1st, 11:45 AM PT
TV: UEFA.TV (online stream with no TV coverage in the US)
GO ALEX MORGAN! GO BEARS!