USWNT beats Ireland 2-0 in game overshadowed by Swanson injury

Emily Fox and Lindsey Horan both scored for the United States in a 2-0 victory Saturday over Ireland that was marred by what appeared to be a serious left knee injury to Mallory Swanson.

Swanson was carted off the field at Q2 Stadium and was taken to a hospital. She was the team's leading scorer this year with seven goals as the United States prepares for the Women's World Cup this summer.

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The match also marked the return of midfielder Julie Ertz, who had not played for the United States since the Tokyo Olympics.

The second of two matches against Ireland was set for Tuesday in St. Louis. The games are the final chance that U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski will have to evaluate his players before he must select a 23-player roster for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The United States fought off a barrage of shots in the 24th minute before Fox scored in the 37th with a low blast through a pair of defenders into the far corner of Ireland's goal. It was her first goal for the United States.

Emily Fox celebrates scoring her first goal for the USWNT.
Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images

Swanson went down in the 40th minute, screaming in pain as teammates gestured frantically for the training staff. Swanson had scored in six straight matches for the United States, tying the record for fourth-longest in team history.

As Swanson was carted off the field, she made a heart with her hands for the crowd.

Horan scored on a penalty kick in the 80th minute. Afterward she ran to the corner and saluted the crowd.

Among the players vying for a World Cup spot was Ertz, who hadn't played for more than 600 days because of injuries and the birth of her son. Ertz came in as a substitute in the 66th minute and was handed the captain's armband by defender Becky Sauerbrunn.

Ertz is a veteran of two World Cups and was widely considered one of the top players in world at her position. She was honored before the game for her 100th appearance with the national team, which she earned back in March 2020. Her husband, Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz, and their infant son were among those on the field for the ceremony.

"When she came in, automatically the pace of the game just picked up a little bit," Andonovski said of Ertz. "It could be coincidental, it could be something that she had to do or maybe the triple change. But regardless, we're happy where she's at.

"We could see some really good stuff. We could see the true JJ on the field. But also there were moments where I thought that she was rushing the pass and made a few mistakes, which is understandable at this point in time.

"It's understandable without being in a game environment, so that's why when we first announced JJ, we said that we're going to be patient with her and give her just a little bit of time to incorporate herself back in the game."

Ireland is ranked No. 22 in the world and the roster includes Denise O'Sullivan, who plays for the North Carolina Courage, Aoife Mannion of Manchester United and Katie McCabe, who plays for Arsenal.

The Irish also started Sinead Farrelly, who joined the team in practice this week and officially joined on Friday. Farrelly accused former National Women's Soccer League coach Paul Riley of misconduct including sexual coercion in 2021. The allegations, published by The Athletic, sparked investigations by both U.S. Soccer and the NWSL. Riley denied the claims.

Farrelly returned to the NWSL this season after nearly eight years away and is playing for Gotham.

"I'm so overwhelmed, very happy, excited," Farrelly said after the match. "Obviously we want to win but I'm just really proud of the team. I am also very tired. I feel like I am manic right now and in an hour I'm going to completely crash. But I feel so supported here."

Information from ESPN's Jeff Carlisle was used in this report.