U.S. star Alex Morgan out of World Cup qualifying with ankle sprain

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

U.S. national team forward Alex Morgan will miss the rest of the Women's World Cup qualifying tournament with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

Morgan was injured in Friday night's 5-0 win over Guatemala. On Saturday, she underwent an MRI, which revealed no additional damage. She will be sidelined for four to six weeks.

"We certainly feel for Alex and of course having her go down is a big loss to our team, but as I've often said, one of our strengths is depth and everyone on the roster is prepared to step up," U.S. coach Jill Ellis said in a statement. "After talking with our medical staff and Alex, we all agreed that the best course of action for her is to head home to minimize travel and get into an environment where she can totally focus on recovery."

Morgan has scored five goals in seven games this year. She had started the Americans' first two games of the current tournament, which also serves as the CONCACAF Women's Championship.

"It's unfortunate timing, but I know my teammates will take care of business and qualify for the World Cup and I'll be watching from my couch," Morgan said. "I have plenty of time to get healthy with a longer break coming up for the team so my job is to focus on the rehab and get back healthy as soon as I can."

The U.S. has won its opening two games and only needs a draw against Haiti on Monday to reach the semifinals. The team is not allowed to replace Morgan on its roster during the current tournament.