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Cal alum Alex Morgan and USA advances to World Cup semi after 2-1 win over host France

Morgan is still stuck at 5 goals for the tournament.

Spain v USA: Round Of 16 - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France
Alex Morgan’s got to shine for USWNT today
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

USA 2, France 1

Alex Morgan may not have added to her 2019 Women’s World Cup leading goal total of 5 in this quarterfinal match, but she played quite well in helping USA beat host France. Morgan first earned a free kick which turns into a Megan Rapinoe goal in the 5th minute. Alex Morgan was also heavily involved in the 2nd US goal when her pass to Tobin Heath turns into a cross to Rapinoe again, with UCLA alum Sam Mewis as a decoy, for Rapinoe’s 4th consecutive goal (5th of the tournament) for the USA. Morgan again had the key pass in what should have been USA’s 3rd goal, but that one was called back on a controversial offside call. Kept alive by that call, France made a late push by scoring a goal, but was kept out of scoring an equalizer in the last 10+ minutes of the match.

Although Alex Morgan had a scare late in the first half when she had to come out of the game momentarily, the Cal alum ended up playing the full 90+5 minutes of this match.

USA will next face England on Tuesday in one of the semifinal from Lyon, France.

The most anticipated match yet in the 2019 Women’s World Cup is today’s USA vs. host France quarterfinal showdown. It is also the perfect stage for Alex Morgan to shine and answer critics who have doubted her and USWNT after their lackluster 2-1 win over Spain in the Round of 16. Morgan was ready to take the tie-breaking penalty late in that match before the USA coaches decided on Megan Rapinoe as the penalty taker.

Sure, Morgan has not scored since those remarkable 5 goals in the opener against an overmatched Thai squad. In three career matches against France (to be fair, most of these were those not very important SheBelieves Cup), Morgan has yet to score against France. Also, after being knocked down to the ground a double digit number of times against Spain on Monday, Morgan should expect an even more physical match against France. There were times on Monday where Morgan looked slow and possibly injured; USWNT head coach Jill Ellis was widely criticized for not pulling Alex until the 86th minute of that must-win, knockout stage match.

I have got to think that the timing is just perfect for Alex Morgan to break through on Friday to help USWNT pass their toughest test yet. This is what transcendent athlete do on the biggest stage regardless of the sport...and Alex Morgan is that good.

USA is the lone, non-European nation left in this World Cup. Should the Americans get past France, they will next have to deal with England, who routed Norway 3-0 on Thursday, on Tuesday in one of the semifinals. Both of the semifinals as well as the finals will take place in Lyon, France - where Alex Morgan called home for one season while winning a Champions League trophy with the Olympique Lyonnais - an injury plagued season where Alex Morgan learned to become a much more complete player.

The other teams still alive in this tournament are Italy and Netherland (Saturday, 6 am PT) as well as Germany and Sweden (Saturday, 9:30 am PT).

On the Golden Boot race, Alex Morgan is now matched by both Australian Sam Kerr (whose team is already eliminated in the Round of 16) and England’s Ellen White with 5 goals. Again, Morgan is due.

When you are all over the magazines (and even a video game) as the superstar face of a sport, you have to deliver. Alex Morgan, the international women’s soccer spotlight is on you today.

2019 Women’s World Cup Quarterfinals: USA vs. France

Where: Parc de Princes (Paris, France)

When: Noon PT