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2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup

Is Lindsey Horan now the USWNT’s starting No. 10?

Pushing her into a more advanced role improved the team significantly during the Concacaf W Gold Cup

Lindsey Horan wearing a blue kit screams and stretches out her arms in celebration

At the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the United States women’s national team underperformed in the group stage before changing approach, pushing Lindsey Horan into a more advanced role and improving significantly from then on. That theme repeated at this year’s Concacaf W Gold Cup. The only difference here was they didn’t go out on penalty kicks — instead, they fought past Colombia, Canada and Brazil to win the tournament. And Horan, playing just behind Alex Morgan, was key to the success.

Things can change quickly in international soccer. The United States’ Gold Cup group stage culminated in a shocking, deserved 2-0 loss to Mexico. In that match, Horan struggled, giving the ball away frequently as her side tried and failed to get level. After that, Twila Kilgore took a page out of Vlatko Andonovski’s book, moving Horan into the attacking midfield role just as he had done for last year’s World Cup second-round clash with Sweden. Horan went on to score the opening goal against Colombia and the winner in the final against Brazil.

Horan played up front earlier on in her career before cementing her status as a dangerous attack-minded midfielder at club level for the Portland Thorns and then Lyon in France. However, at the international level, almost by default due to Julie Ertz’s long-term absence and Sam Mewis’ long-term injury, she found herself taking on deeper and deeper roles. At one point, she was seriously considered as a potential successor to Ertz in the defensive midfield position. What all this meant was her main strengths were minimized and her main weaknesses highlighted.

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