June 9, 2015
By Michael Lewis
A TALE OF TWO MORGANS
Morgan Brian is savoring her 1st World Cup experience …
Big Apple Soccer Editor
WINNIPEG, Manitoba-- As she stood next to the fourth official’s table late in the United States' win over Australia at Winnipeg Stadium Monday night, Morgan Brian took in the moment.
|Morgan Brian: "Obviously I want to enjoy [it]. You never know. You don't want to take anything for granted."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Brian was about to replace midfielder Megan Rapinoe in the 86th minute of the 3-2 Group D victory.
After all, you get only one time to make your Women's World Cup debut.
"Obviously I want to enjoy [it]," Brian said after USA training at the Waverly Soccer Complex Tuesday. "You never know. You don't want to take anything for granted."
Some encouraging words of wisdom from the youngest player of the USA team at 22.
"Even seeing Abby [Wambach, team captain] from the first day, she never takes for granted," Brian said, adding that Rapinoe has expressed that as well.
"They're veterans and they've been in many World Cups. They don't take it for granted. It's something cool to be at. I think you have to remember that. This is a World Cup, something that we have trained for our entire lives. She has been to a couple. But for me, this is my first one. It's something that I've got to enjoy and take it in. Obviously, you want to go to more. But you don't take it for granted and to keep playing."
Brian is one of eight WWC rookies, joining goalkeepers Ashlyn Harris and Alyssa Naeher, defenders Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg and Whitney Engen and forwards Christen Press and Sydney Leroux on the squad.
Midfielder Tobin Heath, who is five years older than Brian, is one of the team's veterans.
"It's just that I want to see these young players evolve," she said. "I love our young talent. I'm super proud of them. They deserve to be here. They're going to help this team go far in this tournament."
Heath used center back Julie Johnston was an example as the 23-year-old made her WWC debut against the Aussies in her 13th international appearance.
"She was world class last night," Heath said. "She looked better out there. Morgan came in and was phenomenal as well. I think we're just super fortunate to have the talent and maturity."
The Americans endured a rather forgettable start to Monday's match as Australia took the play to them before they found their soccer legs in the second half. Whether it was first-game jitters or rookie nerves.
The players thought that should be behind them as they will begin preparation for Friday's encounter with Sweden.
"Now that we've got our first game under our belt and got all of that out of the way, I think you'll see a much different team from the start," Morgan said. "We'll try to be in more control."
As in the opener, a big American contingent is expected for that encounter, which will pit current USA coach Jill Ellis against a recent American coach who has enjoyed great success, Pia Sundhage.
"This is going to be the second we're playing in the same stadium," Morgan said. "It's phenomenal. It feels basically like we're playing at home with the crowd that we have here, the support that we have here. It's really, really incredible. We have that going for us. I think all those you see in the first game we got out of our system. Everybody is looking forward to getting back onto the field putting in a better performance."