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2015 Women's World Cup

Ellis: Morgan (knee) available for World Cup opener

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Alex Morgan is available for selection for the United States’ 2015 Women’s World Cup opener on Monday against Australia.

“If called upon to start, I’d be ready to start,” Morgan said after Sunday’s training session at Winnipeg’s Commonwealth Stadium. “Obviously I don’t know what Jill’s plan is, but if I need to play 90 (minutes), then I will play 90.”

Morgan has not played a competitive match for club or country since April 11, in Portland Thorns FC’s season-opening match. The 25-year-old forward missed the United States’ last three matches due to a bone bruise in her left knee. She says she does not know how the injury was caused.

Speaking to media on Sunday, U.S. coach Jill Ellis said that Morgan has progressed into full training.

“Alex has been back in training, fully. So, you know, I think she’s available,” Ellis said. “Obviously we’re going to look at what our needs are, but I’m just excited now that she is back in 100 percent training – looking great, sharp.”

Ellis said last week in New York that she would need to “build” Morgan’s minutes in the early stages of the World Cup because the forward’s fitness levels aren’t where they need to be. Ellis acknowledged that again on Sunday in the bowels of Commonwealth Stadium.

“Just in terms of minutes, she’s been out for a while,” Ellis said. “She’s worked very, very hard on her fitness, but it’s a little bit different from the game. We’ll meter that and monitor that; as far as having her available, yes, very much so.”

Morgan trained on Sunday, as she has been since she returned to practice last Friday in New Jersey. Morgan trained each of the last two days with kinesiology tape around her left knee. Last week she said she would be ready for the World Cup opener.

“Obviously I’ve only been training with the team fully for the last couple of days or the last week or so, so I’ve been building into it. So I think Jill has a good plan in place and I trust that. hopefully I’ll be 90 minutes game-fit without the fatigue I might have. If not, hopefully I’ll feel 90 minutes game-fit within the next week or so.”

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