Mallory Swanson comes home to possibly play for U.S. women in SheBelieves Cup

Two U.S. women’s national team players, one with long ties to Atlanta, will observe unwanted anniversaries during Saturday’s SheBelieves Cup match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Mallory Swanson, married to former Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, sustained a torn patellar tendon April 8 while playing for the U.S. against Ireland. Saturday will be her first chance to play for the U.S. since the injury.

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, USWNT forward Mallory Pugh engaged

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That the match and opportunity are in Atlanta makes her return sweeter. Mallory plays for the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL and has scored one goal in three matches. Dansby Swanson, a native of Kennesaw, signed with the Cubs before the 2023 season.

“I feel like I have a lot of homes, but Dansby and I always say Atlanta is our main home,” Swanson said Wednesday. “That’s where our family and that’s where our friends are. Our careers have taken us elsewhere, but Atlanta is always home.”

Catarina Macario sustained an ACL injury two years ago while playing for Lyon in France. Should she make an appearance on U.S. against Japan, it will be just shy of two years since she last played for the U.S., a match in which she scored twice against Uzbekistan on April 12, 2022. Macario plays for Chelsea in England and has one goal and one assist in three league matches.

“I’m currently just enjoying being back with my teammates,” she said. “I just hope that we can have a good game on Saturday against Japan.”

Both players were integral to the U.S. before their injuries.

Swanson was named the MVP of the 2023 Gold Cup after helping the U.S. win that tournament. Just 25 years old, she has 32 goals and 27 assists in 88 appearances for the national team.

Macario, 24, was the MVP of the 2022 SheBelieves Cup, won by the U.S. She has eight goals and two assists in 17 appearances for the national team.

“I’m so excited for Mal and Cat to be here,” forward Alex Morgan said. “It’s been a long time coming for both of them. So to see them doing well, both on the club side, and then have the opportunity to get back in here with the team, I know it means so much to them. And they’re important pieces to this team. So I’m really excited for them to be able to play in this tournament and hopefully, lift another trophy.”

Neither Swanson nor Macario mentioned any personal expectations for Saturday. Swanson said the goal was for the U.S. to win and advance to the finals, which will be played in Columbus, Ohio. If they can help the team accomplish that, so be it.

“It’s a huge honor to represent the U.S. and to wear the jersey,” Macario said. “I feel like I’m just grateful about everything just to be here again and just hope to do well.”

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