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Ertz returns, Swanson injured, set-piece struggles: Takeaways from USWNT 2, Ireland 0

U.S. women's national team midfielder Julie Ertz dribbles the ball past Republic of Ireland women's national team midfielder Denise O'Sullivan.
Photo Copyright Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

Midfielder Julie Ertz returned to the field for the first time in 611 days and forward Mallory Swanson was stretchered off the field injured in the United States women’s national team‘s 2-0 victory over Ireland on Saturday at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas.

The result — via defender Emily Fox’s first international goal and a penalty kick from midfielder Lindsey Horan — was always going to be secondary to some of the personnel changes and tactical nuances of the game. This week’s two games against Ireland are the last the U.S. will play before head coach Vlatko Andonovski names his World Cup roster. All that was underscored by the magnitude of the Ertz and Swanson events.

Here are three big talking points from the match from a U.S. perspective and why they could each have major repercussions for the World Cup.

Mallory Swanson goes off injured

Swanson is the most in-form U.S. player right now and has been for some time, scoring seven goals in the first five U.S. games of 2023.

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