7: Alex Morgan
Morgan’s year has brought vastly differing fortunes for club and country, and it is her sensational form for the USA national team that places her this high. As Orlando Pride struggled for consistency in 2018 and said goodbye to their manager, Tom Sermanni, Morgan scored just five NWSL goals and never struck in consecutive games, although she did find the net in big early season wins against Portland Thorns and Chicago Red Stars. It was on the international stage that she really starred, though, as Jill Ellis’s side went unbeaten in 2018. She scored 18 times in their 20 games this year, starting off with a goal against Euro 2017 runners-up Denmark. Two braces in a row against Mexico followed, while her best moment was a hat-trick against Japan, their opponents in the last two World Cup finals. While her quality in front of goal remains unquestionable for her country, one wonders just how much more Morgan can offer for her club in 2019 – but she should play a key role in the USA’s bid to retain the World Cup next summer.
Tom Sermanni, former Orlando Pride manager:
“She’s an instinctive goal scorer who has an innate ability to be in the right place at the right time. She is also an outstanding finisher. She’s able to hit the ball with accuracy and power into areas that makes it impossible for goalkeepers to save. She also has the ability to strike the ball early with great pace before goalkeepers are able to get set.”
Alanna Kennedy, Orlando Pride team mate:
“Alex is strong and powerful. Her clinical finishing, with both feet, truly sets her apart from the rest.”
Emily van Egmond, Orlando Pride team mate
“It’s her speed and athleticism. She has a great knack for goal, both club and country, and is a dangerous aerial presence.”