Alex Morgan in peak form as top-ranked U.S. team opens World Cup qualifying tournament

October 3, 2018 Team USA

Alex Morgan has played in two Women’s World Cups but feels like she didn’t really leave her mark on the tournament.

“I had a couple of injuries going into last World Cup. The one before that, I wasn’t starting. I was new on the team,” she said.

So if the third time really is the charm, Morgan said she believes she should have a great tournament next summer in France.

But the U.S. has to get there first, something Morgan and her teammates will begin working on in earnest Thursday when they kick off the CONCACAF Women’s Championship against Mexico in Cary, N.C.

The eight-team, 13-day competition serves as the regional World Cup qualifier, with the top three finishers earning invitations to France. The fourth-place team will advance to a playoff with Argentina, where another World Cup berth will be at stake.

Those are good odds for Morgan, 29, who will playing on a No. 1-ranked U.S. team that is 27-1-0 in qualifying and has never finished lower than third in a World Cup.

“My focus is definitely this next year,” she said. “This is definitely the cycle and the World Cup that I feel at my best. I feel like I’ve been lifted up by the coaches and my teammates. I feel like I’m just in a great position.

“That role on the team that I continue to grow into kind of just naturally fits where I am right now.”

(Read More: Los Angeles Times)