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Morgan returns after long layoff with injury

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 8, 2014 at 12:14 am •  Published: June 8, 2014
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Alex Morgan's return didn't go as she had hoped.

Finally healed from an ankle injury that had kept her sidelined since last fall, Morgan made her long-awaited season debut for the Portland Thorns on Saturday night — but her team fell 5-0 to the Western New York Flash.

"It was hard for me because I've been looking forward to this day for a long time," she said.

Morgan now heads off to training with the U.S. national team, along with Thorns teammates Allie Long and Tobin Heath. They'll join the Flash's Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd on the U.S. team for the first of two exhibition matches against France in Tampa, Florida, on June 14.

Morgan, who has 40 goals in 70 international appearances, first hurt her ankle during training late last October but she played a match against Brazil on Nov. 10.

The Thorns are 4-3-2 this season and ranked fifth in the nine-team NWSL, which is in the midst of its second season. Morgan had eight goals and five assists last season for the Thorns, who won the league's inaugural championship.

Despite Morgan's return, the Thorns fell to the Flash 5-0. Morgan, however, appeared in good form. She challenged Western New York goalkeeper Lydia Williams on fast breaks in the 76th and 86th minutes, but just missed each time.

The Thorns were hurt when goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was sent off in the first half with a red card. Because they were down a player, the Thorns were not able to sub out Morgan late in the game.

"Obviously her touch is going to get better with more training," coach Paul Riley said.

Morgan was greeted with wild applause when her name was introduced in the starting lineup by the 13,838 fans that came to see the rivalry match. She was clearly disappointed afterward that the Thorns did not give the crowd a win.

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