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Orlando Pride star Alex Morgan sees room to improve despite recent goal surge

United States' Alex Morgan (13) shoots past Mexico's Bianca Sierra (3) during the first half of an international friendly soccer match Thursday, April 5, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Orlando Pride star Alex Morgan has scored four goals during the past two matches with the U.S. women’s national team, but she still sees room to improve.

“I think I’m playing really well for where I’m at in season,” she said. “I think I can get a little bit more fit and a little bit better throughout the season, but I think this is exactly where I want to be.”

Morgan, who rejoined the Pride for training this week after national team duty, said a switch to a vegan diet has helped her on the pitch.

“I’ve been thinking about it for quite a few years,” she said. “Went vegetarian first and then kind of transitioned into eating vegan. I just felt like that’s kind of what my body wanted, so I went for it. And I have seen really positive effects from it. I’m really happy with the way my body has adjusted and the energy it’s given me. And I feel like I’m able to recover a lot faster because I’m not having those inflammatory foods in my body anymore. I’m really happy with the way it’s turned out.”

She has some company on the Pride roster, with Toni Pressley doing cooking videos after switching to a vegan diet.

“I have some teammates in Shelina [Zadorsky] and Toni who are also kind of living that vegan lifestyle, so a lot of support within this club,” Morgan said.

Morgan and the Pride have had little time to get ready for a tough matchup on the road Sunday against the Portland Thorns, the defending NWSL champions.

Last week, the Pride trained without 10 players called up to various national teams.

While Morgan, Ashlyn Harris and Zadorsky are back training with the club this week, Orlando will keep competing without Brazilian and Australian national-team players a bit longer.

“It’s been pretty difficult, honestly, to get a good fluidity within the team,” Morgan said of the various national team call-ups. “And just knowing that we’re going to get the Brazilians and Australians back soon but not soon enough, it’s really difficult because I feel like again this year we’re going to be playing a little bit of catch-up just with those first few games not really getting the results we wanted.

“So we’ll just continue to grind it out these next few games and then welcome with open arms the Aussies and Brazilians.”

Zadorsky, who was called up for Canadian-team duty, said the positive energy within the club helps offset the difficulty of quickly bonding on the pitch.

Morgan said familiarity with Pride coach Tom Sermanni’s preferences also should help this season.

“I think just knowing exactly how Tom wants us to play helps,” she said. “I think before we didn’t really know [the] kind of formation we wanted to play. … I feel like we just understand the style of play Tom wants from us. He’s brought the players in order to fit that style. I think it’s just fitting those final pieces with newer players kind of getting them on board quickly. So it’s coming together.”

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