Alex Morgan says USWNT's game must 'evolve' after Mexico loss

Days after a stunning 2-0 W Gold Cup loss to Mexico, United States forward Alex Morgan said the national team must "evolve" as it prepares for Sunday's quarterfinal match against Colombia.

"Both tactically and technically, we need to evolve. The game is naturally evolving," the two-time World Cup winner and Olympic Gold medalist said during a news conference on Friday. "The game globally is growing so much."

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Monday's group stage win over the USWNT at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. marked Mexico's first win against the four-time world champion since 2010. The result, which followed a disappointing round-of-16 exit at the Women's World Cup and ensuing resignation of coach Vlatko Andonovski, marked just the second time that the U.S. has lost to Mexico.

"We see ourselves in a moment of some change and evolution that the game needs," Morgan said. "I feel very impressed with a lot of the young players who have come in and asserted themselves on this team. That's a reason that I wasn't on this team to start with. I got the opportunity because of an injury [to Mia Fishel]."

Morgan, 34, was left out of the initial W Gold Cup squad led by interim manager Twila Kilgore. The forward, who plays her club soccer for San Diego Wave in the NWSL, said that more hurdles could emerge for the USWNT.

"You're going to then see that there's going to be bumps along the road with games that you drop that I think are sometimes surprising to fans," Morgan said of the team's transition.

"But I think knowing where we are and where we need to be, there's just a sense of evolution that needs to take place... We're in a really good place, even though you know it's not the tournament we had hoped for."

The USWNT finished the W Gold Cup group stage with a 2-0-1 record in second place, with wins over Argentina and the Dominican Republic in addition to the loss to Mexico. The top two from each group, along with the two-best third place teams, were then re-seeded and placed in 1-8 knockout matchups for the quarterfinal stage.

After being reseeded at No. 4, the USWNT will face No. 5 Colombia on Sunday at Los Angeles' BMO Stadium. The U.S. holds a 9-1-0 record against the South American side that made headlines for reaching the quarterfinal stage of the Women's World Cup.

Despite the latest obstacles, both Morgan and Kilgore said they remain confident going forward.

"We're in a really good place," Morgan said. "Actually I think the way that the tournament unfolded with losing that last game to Mexico and the length in time in between games, [it] gave us the opportunity not only to kind of close the loop on Mexico and start to focus on Colombia, but also work on ourselves and supporting each other."

"It's also important to recognize that we're entering into almost another tournament," Kilgore, who's leading the USWNT until Emma Hayes's arrival after Chelsea's Women's Super League season ends, said of the knockout round. "We're moving into another phase and we leave the past behind us."

Aside from 2010's World Cup qualifying competition, the USWNT has won every single Concacaf tournament they've participated in as a national team, including Concacaf's W Championship in 2022.

Following the weekend's quarterfinals, the W Gold Cup will close out with semifinals (March 6) and a final (March 10) at San Diego's Snapdragon Stadium.