With their shocking exit in the Round of 16, the 2023 Women’s World Cup was a
disappointment for the U.S. Women’s National Team. For both fans and bettors in states like
Michigan, their attention will soon turn to the 2024 Olympics, where the Americans will look for
some immediate redemption. Naturally, the squad at next summer’s Olympics figures to look a
lot different than the squad that just lost to Sweden in the Round of 16. For anyone participating
in sports betting in Michigan or anywhere else who wants to bet on the U.S. women winning
gold in 2024, here is a look at the most important players who will have a big say in whether that
happens or not.
Swanson’s injury a few months before the World Cup was a devastating blow to the USWNT’s
chances. With the Americans struggling to score goals, Swanson could have been a difference-
maker. Before the injury, she was starting to play the best soccer of her career. If she can
recover and get into good form in time for the Olympics, she can give the U.S. a dimension it
was lacking during the World Cup.
The narrative surrounding Girma before the World Cup was that she had a chance to one day
be the best center back in the world. Coming out of the tournament, that day may already be
here. Girma was outstanding during the World Cup, anchoring a back line that allowed one goal
in four matches and rarely allowed shots on goal. It remains uncertain who will play next to her
at the Olympics. However, with Girma anchoring the back line, the U.S. knows it will be strong
defensively moving forward.
A torn ACL in June 2022 prevented Macario from playing in the World Cup. But she’ll be two
years removed from that injury by the time the 2024 Olympics roll around. If she had been
healthy, Macario would have been the ideal like-for-like replacement for Alex Morgan. With
Morgan likely to retire from international duty, the striker position is wide open with Macario
appearing to be the best option if she’s healthy. Just 23, the Brazilian-born Macario is among
the most talented players in the U.S. player pool right now.
Lavelle’s lack of availability surely played a role in the USWNT’s failure at the World Cup. An
injury forced her to come off the bench in the first two games while a suspension prevented her
from playing in the Round of 16. Moving forward, Lavelle is still an important part of the team.
She’s easily the best midfield playmaker the U.S. has right now. To win gold at the Olympics
next summer, Lavelle must be healthy and get back to pulling the strings from the midfield.
Smith might be forever haunted by her penalty miss against Sweden, as she had the power to
send the U.S. to the quarterfinals. That disappointment aside, she will still be a big part of the
USWNT for the foreseeable future. She was arguably the best attacking player the U.S. had at
the World Cup and is still just 23. Obviously, Smith has to find a way mentally to turn the corner
after her penalty miss. However, she’s still a safe bet to be a starter at the next Olympics and
the next World Cup, making her an integral part of the USWNT moving forward.