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Just Now: As the Press is unsatisfied by Hayes’ explanation for Morgan’s Olympic omission,What did Hayes say about Morgan? After announcing her..

Christen Press said she was left unsatisfied by Emma Hayes’ explanation for leaving Alex Morgan off the U.S. women’s national team Olympic roster.

Morgan was not named to Hayes’ 18-player squad last week, marking the first time since the 2008 Olympics the USWNT will enter a major tournament without the striker.

The decision was monumental, but not necessarily a huge surprise. Morgan has just four goals in her last 27 appearances for the USWNT, and hasn’t scored yet for the San Diego Wave in 2024

But the 35-year-old has also been a valuable contributor for the USWNT this year, providing hold-up play, strong defensive work, veteran leadership and two goals in nine appearances.

Ultimately, Morgan was likely a victim of the 18-player roster size for the Olympics, in contrast to 23 for most major tournaments.

In any case, when it came to her longtime USWNT teammate, Press felt she wanted a bit more from the team’s new head coach.

“I’m sure [Morgan] will get celebrated and get her flowers, but it never feels good to have someone who’s so important to the program have this sour taste in the end,” Press said on The Re-CAP Show.

“From a footballing standpoint I think I really wanted a clear reason why. We talked about this, and maybe we got one, but I think Emma gave like the most media-trained answer ever.

“She just kept saying, ‘Well, I picked other players and other players are awesome,’ and it’s like, that’s true, but why did you not select her? I wanted to hear why. And if the reason was form, like, ‘My other players are scoring and Alex is not,’ then that’s the reason.

“So I felt like we just kind of got left hanging and we can all just assume it’s because of club form, she’s been hanging onto injury, or maybe that [Hayes] didn’t value having someone on the roster that had won [the Olympics] before as much as she valued someone that she really felt like she could sub in and make a difference in a game. But I was just left being like, ‘Well what did that phone call sound like? What was the real reason?’”

What did Hayes say about Morgan?

After announcing her Olympic roster, Hayes leaned on the small roster sizes to help justify her exclusion of Morgan.

“There are only 16 outfield players and two goalkeepers on a roster of 18, so it was a tough decision, especially considering Alex’s history and record with this team,” Hayes said on a call with the media. “But I felt that I wanted to go in another direction and selected other players.”

Pressed further, Hayes also implied that Morgan’s lack of versatility in comparison to some of her competitors for a roster spot also played a factor.

 

“We have a tight turnaround between games, so of course having players on the roster that could play more than one position mattered with squad depth,” Hayes said.

“But I also think there are players on the roster in the forward areas performing well, and the decision to take those players was one that we certainly deliberated over. But I think it’s a balanced roster. I’ve considered all the factors that we’re going to need throughout the Olympics.”

Tobin Heath, another longtime USWNT teammate of Morgan and the co-host of The Re-CAP Show, said that she felt the Olympics could be an opportunity for the team’s younger attackers to step out of Morgan’s shadow.

 

“If you look at this forward line, Emma also could have felt like [Morgan] had already kind of had that time with this group. Like she had a World Cup with this group. She got to impart them with her experience in that type of tournament,” Heath said.

“I think there is a big shadow on all of the attackers when Alex Morgan’s around. Maybe in a lot of ways, this is the next step for this young group of attackers to actually have to emerge.”

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